Benefits Top Costs in EPRI Smart Grid Analysis

The project team analyzed projected costs over the next 20 years, looking at core smart grid technologies in transmission, substation, distribution, and customer interface.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) today released a broad assessment of the costs and benefits to modernize the U.S. electricity system and deploy what has become known as “the smart grid.” Factoring a wide range of new technologies, applications and consumer benefits the investment needed to implement a fully functional smart grid ranges from $338 billion to $476 billion and can result in benefits between $1.3 trillion and $2 trillion.

The estimate reflects new technologies related to the grid, information, and communication technologies; market structures; demands of an increasingly digital society; more widespread deployment of renewable power production and its integration into the grid; expansion and maintenance of existing infrastructure; and technologies and systems to address grid security.

The report balances costs with benefits, which include:

  • More reliable power delivery and quality, with fewer and briefer outages;
  • Enhanced cyber security and safety with a grid that monitors itself and detects and responds to security and safety situations;
  • A more efficient grid, with reduced energy losses and a greater capacity to manage peak demand, lessening the need for new generation;
  • Environmental and conservation benefits, better support for renewable energy and electric-drive vehicles; and,
  • Potentially lower costs for customers through greater pricing choices and access to energy information.

The analysis updates EPRI’s 2004 EPRI assessment, which estimated the cost of implementing a smart grid at $165 billion. The updated analysis assumes steady deployment of smart grid technologies beginning in 2010 and continuing through 2030.

Mark McGranaghan, EPRI vice president of Power Delivery and Utilization, says the increased costs of the current analysis reflect a more advanced and expansive vision for the smart grid.

“This cost assessment factors in new technologies and customer benefits that create a more resilient, self-healing and interactive grid that were not available when the 2004 analysis was completed,” said McGranaghan. “It can serve as a valuable resource for the industry, policymakers and key stakeholders, first to help us appreciate just how far the state of the art has advanced, and second, to help the industry make prudent investment decisions going forward.”

The project team analyzed projected costs over the next 20 years, looking at core smart grid technologies in four areas: transmission, substation, distribution and customer interface. It then subdivided estimates into two segments:

  • Investment required to meet load growth and to correct deficiencies – such as power flow bottlenecks and high-fault currents that damage critical equipment -- through equipment installation, upgrades and replacement.
  • Investment needed to develop and deploy advanced technologies to achieve “smart” functionality of power delivery systems.

The assessment found that deploying a smarter grid will require careful policy formulation, accelerated infrastructure investment, and a greater commitment to public-private research, development and demonstrations to overcome barriers and vulnerabilities.

To view the assessment “Estimating the Costs and Benefits of the Smart Grid – A Preliminary Estimate of the Investment Requirements for a Fully Functioning Smart Grid” (Report # 1022519) click here.

Source: EPRI

Download Center

  • Monitoring and Reporting on Air Emissions for Regulators and the Real World

    When it comes to managing compliance and regulatory issues surrounding air emissions, there are no easy jobs. With interviews from practitioners from American Electric Power, Red Cedar Gathering, Trinity Consultants, and Cority, this eBook provides practical advice to advance your air emissions monitoring and reporting programs.

  • What Every EHS Professional Should Know About ESG

    Join experts from Arcadis and Cority on April 27th to learn the most common ESG reporting frameworks and how technology can help you improve reporting efficiency, identify areas for improvement, and create defensible audit trails.

  • Green Quadrant EHS Software 2021

    Read the new report by independent analyst firm, Verdantix, to get an unbiased comparison of the 22 most prominent EHS software vendors in the industry.

  • RFP Template for Waste Management Software

    Learn the essential questions to ask when evaluating waste management software solutions with this free, ready-to-use RFP template

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

Featured Webinar