Technological Advancements Plugging in to the Energy Industry with the “Smart Grid”

What is the “Smart Grid”?  The term refers to a concept now being enhanced by Ameren Corporation.  Although it is a term that is relatively new and not everyone has heard of, Ameren’s predecessor companies have been investing in “smart” technologies for nearly three decades. The current subsidiary, Ameren, was founded as a subsidiary back in 1997.

The idea is to implement modern technologies to the National Power Grid; an infrastructure that has traditionally been managed manually as it was developed over the past century.  Ameren targets all sectors of the distribution channel; the transmission grid which is the backbone of the interconnected electrical system, substations that serve as power facilities throughout the system, and the distribution grid that delivers electricity to the homes and businesses that consume it.  The ultimate goal is to update the National Power Grid with modern technologies for better reliability, faster identification of problems, prevention of outages, and all around enhance efficiency.  Not to mention, the implementation of Smart Grid technologies keeps the downward pressure on prices and even minimizes environmental impact.

Sounds like the perfect solution, right?  Some are skeptical of the young technology and its implementation.  The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) rejected Ameren’s plans to install its technologies on the National Power Grid in the states’ regions.  The ICC cited a lack of detail in the plan and was hesitant to accept the cost/benefit analysis that relied on speculative calculations.

Others, however, acknowledge the potential of the concept.  Earlier in June the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved Ameren’s plan to continue implementing its efforts.

The Smart Grid may revolutionize the traditional electrical system of the United States and change the way we distribute this valuable asset to everyone’s life.

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