Power up: A 'smart grid' could integrate traditional and new energy sources and lead to greater efficiency.
According to research sponsored by the U.S. Government, improving the efficiency of the national electricity grid by 5 per cent would be the equivalent of eliminating the fuel use and carbon emissions of 53 million cars.
For years environmentalists have been talking up the idea of a "smart grid" as a way of achieving this - an electricity distribution system that uses digital technology to eliminate waste and improve reliability.
Advocates of a "smart grid" also say that it would open up new markets for large and small scale alternative energy producers by decentralizing generation.
"It would give consumers the potential to have a much more complex relationship with their energy supplier," says John Loughhead, Executive Director of the United Kingdom Energy Research Center.
"Essentially, with a smart grid, traffic goes both ways. If you wanted to install some kind of micro-generation facility in your home, you could use it to sell to the grid and get money back."
Read More @ http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/03/01/eco.smartgrid/index.html