Why the U.S. Leads in Smart Grid Technology

December 11, 2009 at 9:23 pm

At breakfast this morning, I spoke to Bob Hormats, who is Hillary Clinton’s lieutenant at the State Department (officially “Under Secretary for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs”) about U.S. competitiveness. Today, the U.S. leads the world in Smart Grid technology, pulled along by visionary policymakers in California and Texas, and executed by hardware and software innovators from start-ups to giants.

That leadership is demonstrated in a plethora of Smart Grid, smart meter, dynamic pricing, smart town, PHEV charging, and other pilots – and rollouts to all customers in a handful of states of smart meters that enable large-scale dynamic pricing, remote connect/disconnect, power quality monitoring (voltage and outage), and interfaces to in-home displays, smart thermostats, and smart appliances.

Bob said, “America’s greatest strength is innovation and receptivity to new ideas. We attract the best and the brightest students and entrepreneurs from around the world and put them in places like Silicon Valley with its unique blend of cooperation and competitive spirit.” Visionaries going back to Ben Franklin and Abraham Lincoln highlighted America’s genius for creating new ideas and having an environment that accepts new people and new ideas. Smart Grid is a perfect example of that.

Bob spends a lot of his time in trade negotiations, working to protect the valuable intellectual property being created by Smart Grid and other companies. How important is this? As important as maintaining the lead in an intensely competitive international market for Smart Grid, having an estimated value of at least half a trillion dollars.

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