Transmission group pessimistic about smart grid's future

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By: SGN Staff

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By Jesse Berst

 

Quick Take: Wires, a trade association for electric transmission owners, is just out with its newsletter proclaiming that "the possibility also increases that the upgrade and build-out of the grid to meet 21st Century needs and standards could be delayed or frustrated altogether."

This is in contrast to most market researchers, who proclaim strong growth for smart grid in general and transmission in particular (at least for the next two years). Wires sees several roadblocks in the way:

  • A prolonged compliance fight over FERC Order 1000, especially about "regional preferences"
  • An uptick in complaint cases seeking reductions in returns on transmission projects which could "dampen investor enthusiasm"
  • A Congress that is energy apathetic
  • An infrastructure that continues to erode, leading the American Society of Civil Engineers to give the transmission system a grade of D+

In light of the obstacles, Wires concluded "The outlook for transmission this year is clearly mixed."

 

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Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com, the industry's oldest and largest smart grid site. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the U.S. and abroad, he also serves on advisory committees for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Institute for Electric Efficiency. He often provides strategic consulting to large corporations and venture-backed startups. He is a member of the advisory boards of GridGlo and Calico Energy Services.