Businessweek declares death of the grid

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By: SGN Staff

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By Jesse Berst

 

If you are a regular reader of Smart Grid News, then you have known for close to a decade about the disruptive changes that threaten the electric power industry. Lately, however, the "sky is falling" reports have multiplied, coming from trusted observers and conservative trade associations.

 

The latest was published recently by Bloomberg Businessweek under the provocative title "Why the U.S. Power Grid's Days Are Numbered." The authors mistakenly conflate the physical grid with the electric power industry. The physical infrastructure isn't about to disappear in a poof. But the business model that currently supports it is under threat.

 

If you want to know what mainstream businesspeople are hearing about our industry – inaccuracies and all – skim the summary below or read the full article at the link above.

 

The electric power business model hasn’t changed much since Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. And it’s doomed to obsolescence.

 

That’s the opinion of David Crane, chief executive officer of NRG Energy.  A confluence of green energy and computer technology, deregulation, cheap natural gas and political pressure poses “a mortal threat to the existing utility system.” In about the time it took cell phones to supplant land lines in most U.S. homes, the grid will become increasingly irrelevant as customers move toward decentralized homegrown green energy.