The challenge with building a business case for smart grids

François Bouffard

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


    The "Smart grid" appears to be synonymous with the end of an era of seemingly stagnant technological evolution in the field of electricity generation, transmission, distribution and utilization. The imperatives of pollution control and climate change, as well as the need to secure energy supplies are external drivers working for the end of this stagnation. Information and communication technologies, backed by solution vendors often entering the utility field, are providing the necessary technological and commercial impetus. It is, nonetheless, difficult not to avoid the key questions: Can society as a whole gain from a smarter grid? If so, in what sort of timescales? And are there solid business cases for the smart grid? For whom? The smart grid is again (just like liberalization 10-15 years ago) something happening from the top down. Consumers have legitimate rights to be skeptical about the whole concept. The rolling of smart grid investment programmes - currently rhyming with smart metering for the most part - will invariably increase the bill for the consumer, while it is nowhere certain that he or she will be able to reap any tangible benefits. This paper outlines some of the key questions relating to the potential costs and benefits of smart grid investment proposals as they are tackled by the members of the IEEE Power & Energy Society Power System Economics Subcommittee. In addition to costs and benefits, we address their allocation as well as some of the utility regulation challenges set forth by smart grids. ©2010 IEEE.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationIEEE PES General Meeting, PES 2010|IEEE PES Gen. Meet., PES
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    EventIEEE PES General Meeting, PES 2010 - Minneapolis, MN
    Duration: 1 Jul 2010 → …


    ConferenceIEEE PES General Meeting, PES 2010
    CityMinneapolis, MN
    Period1/07/10 → …


    • Added value
    • Allocation
    • Business case
    • Consumer
    • Cost-benefit analysis
    • Externality
    • Incentive
    • Power system economics
    • Smart grid
    • Utility regulation


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