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What are the advantages and disadvantages of the "Smart Grid"?

Just read this article and now want to know a little more about it:http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/03/20/smartgrid.vulnerability/index.html
Goodbye, Cruel World:

The link would not work for me but I do know a bit about the technology. I have many friends who work for area electric companies in several capacities from the guy who works in the vaults under the streets to vice presidents.

A few years ago, fuel cells were the hot issue and they are a fairly well-developed technology. Then ethanol became the hot topic. Ethanol is actually a good fuel for the fuel cell. In the corn belt, it would make sense to put the ethanol production near fuel cell generators.

With that in mind, mission critical applications could be isolated from the grid, connecting only via smart grid technology. Critical functions or perhaps the whole facility of a hospital or police station or prison or government office could be on a fuel cell with pipeline delivery from the ethanol plant -- very limited new infrastructure required.

The public benefit from this initial expense would be at public expense with the costs being recouped as the technology finds additional cost-effective applications.

?:

Thanks for the insight!
The link itself shows one of the disadvantages which is its vulnerability to hacking and manipulation.
I wanted to see all sides of it though so I asked for advantages as well. It seems it really would benefit us greatly. I just hope we are able to protect the system from the attacks to it. Thanks for the info Criado :)

Goodbye, Cruel World:

I think that the best way to implement it is incrementally where the local generation and grid draws is controlled by local computers. Communication between the computers could be done much like the old Fido network rather than via the internet. Communication can actually take place over the electric lines but that causes interference with radio. If done in infrequent and small bundles, it should not be a problem.

?:

Very true. Thanks again!

Ginger:

For one thing, the smart grid tells us how many generators need to be on line and how many generators should be on standby. I am not sure of what else it does.

Since it is computer driven it is susceptible to hacking. That does nt mean that we should abandon it.

?:

Thanks for answering ginger.
Just by reading that article, it seems to me an energy technology on that level of necessity, would really be a bad idea. considering its susceptibility to hacking or manipulation from any side (even from other countries). I'll wait for more answers on here though before I decide.

Ginger:

New technologies usually bring new problems. I'm sure the Wright brothers knew that airplanes would crash.

?:

Well in order to introduce this, they are going to have to be the best prepared they can to stop attacks from here and everywhere else (especially given terrorism).

Ginger:

Yep

Gray wolf:

A smart grid would be more reliable. We would be less likely to have the types of black out that we had in the past. The link talked about it would be vulnerable to hackers our current grid is vulnerable to just about everything from storms to small animals have caused major black outs. A smart grid would also be more efficient and Flexible. It can except power from many different sources like renewable sources of energy.

The only disadvantage is President Obama want to do it so to many that makes it bad.

?:

lol Sad but true on that last line. What I really want to know, with the little I know right now on the technology is how they intend to safeguard the system. I mean, how are you going to stop a constant string of attacks both domestic and foreign.
Thanks for answering by the way.

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