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‘Smart’ Grid: New Critics of a Bad Idea (Part I of II)

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#robertmichaels">Robert Michaels</a> -- January 12, 2010

Possibly the most fascinating aspect of the Smart Grid is the absense of an economic rationale. But industry incentives being what they are (concentrated benefits, diffused costs), many have bet on much of it being built. Boondoggles must pass political tests, not economic ones.

But guess what?  People are finally starting to wonder if this smart grid is worth the trouble. Intervenors, at last, are turning up at state proceedings. For a good sample of the issues and alternatives, look at Synapse Energy Economics’ July 8 filing at the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities on behalf of the state Department of Public Advocate. Synapse is possibly the best firm in the business to represent efficiency or environmental interests, but they stand with the skeptics on smart grids.

The utilities have yet to find consultants who can make an easy case for the grids.…