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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Real Purpose of the Smart Grid

Timothy Birdnow

There is an interesting article at Masterresource about the "smart grid" and how California is finding the implementation of smart meters and the like a bit more difficult than they first imagined.

From the article:

"The numbers are interesting, but DRA’s big point is that the CPUC has hardly any idea about what it does or doesn’t know amid the hyper complexity of smart meter costs and benefits.

AMI is now the subject matter of lots and lots of dockets, many of which appear to have little to do with it. By actual count, the commission must track more than 130 different costs and 50 projected benefits, probably not all well-defined.

Remarkable Estimate

The basic value of AMI has long been far from certain. In a 2005 response to the commission’s request for a “business case,” SCE concluded that on balance it would not be cost-effective, save for some programs for customers who already had smart meters. The company came back in 2007, and this time the regulators authorized $1.63 billion for implementation on the basis of a remarkable estimate.

Specifically, over the 24-year duration of SCE’s program, the present value of net benefits would be the princely sum of $9.2 million. (Some other claimed benefits like reduced power theft were thrown out by agreement.) The commission authorized the $1.63 billion, but the business case includes another $1.58 billion of post-deployment costs not authorized but in the business case calculation."

End excerpt.

Smart grids are the Environmentalists answer to generating electricity. A smart meter would regulate energy usage and pricing. The idea is not to make more power but to use it more efficiently. It is the dream of the Gang Green to power down America; it's the same thinking that gave us those horrible compact florescent mercury poisoners that put out dim yellow light.

But this article - and the comments after - show a profound misunderstanding of the purpose of these smart grids; they are not really about managing peak energy but about control. The endgame is to make it possible for the government to shut off the spigot when they please, or to throttle back how much power the consumer gets. Now it's about pricing, but that's not the endgame here.

The end result will be a system where the State can tell the consumer how much he can or cannot use. 

That's why they will keep pushing forward with this technology despite dubious consumer benefits; this is ultimately about control. Granted, there has always been a kill switch on electricity, but it was always quite difficult, requiring choking everyone's energy. The smart grid makes it possible to choke just those you want to choke. Much like the Obama Administration shutting off water to California's conservative Imperial Valley (to punish his political enemies and ostensibly save some sort of snail or whatnot) so too they will ne able to turn off the lights to those they don't like. And if they think you are using too much power, they will shut off your air-conditioner, your computer, etc.

The ability to control energy is the ability to control the individual. THAT is the purpose of these smart grids. So don't be surprised that they do not live up to their billing; this isn't about the stated goals anyway.

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