The price tag for a fully functional smart grid in the U.S. could run from $338 billion to $476 billion, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) says in a new report. Wow.
From our friends at SmartGridNews.com
But the bonus is that the ROI in terms of benefits could be between $1.3 trillion and $2 trillion. All of this assumes that deployment of smart grid technologies continues steadily through 2030.
EPRI’s assessment report weighed a pretty broad range of factors: new grid-related technologies, information and communications technologies, market structures, demands of an increasingly digital society, more widespread use of renewable energy and its integration into the grid. It also includes expansion and maintenance of existing infrastructure and security technologies and systems.
The project team examined projected costs over the next 20 years, looking at key smart grid technologies in four primary areas: customer interface, distribution, substation and transmission. Then it split the estimates into investment needed to meet load growth and fix deficiencies and investment needed to develop and deploy the technologies to bring us a functionally “smart” power delivery system.
The report also says deploying a smarter grid will require a multi-pronged approach: careful policy development, accelerated infrastructure investment, a bigger commitment to public/private research and development and demonstrations to “overcome barriers and vulnerabilities.”
“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 Mark McGranaghan, EPRI VP for Power Delivery and Utilization. In 2004, EPRI’s estimate for full smart grid implementation was $165 billion.
Maybe we should look at it this way: The interstate highway system cost roughly $500 billion
(in today’s dollars of course).