In February 2021, the Texas power grid experienced widespread outages for days during a severe winter storm. The lack of fine control on grid technology and modernized infrastructure left hundreds of thousands of residents freezing in their homes instead of manageable short-term rolling blackouts. The electrical grid in the United States has not sufficiently modernized to keep up with the rise in technology developing throughout the United States.
Without modernization and necessary improvements, limitations in the grid will expose themselves as widespread outages affecting residents, infrastructure, and companies across the United States. Transitioning the United States to a smart grid is a complex long-term initiative requiring careful ethical considerations, proper funding, and diligent cyber-security maintenance. A proper implementation of the smart grid will provide the nation with a resilient electrical grid with bidirectional communication between the grid and electricity customers. The smart grid will lead to a better distribution in electricity usage throughout the day, reduced costs, and the capability for more distributed power generation and green energy. The cost of the transition is estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars, but with a return on investment far exceeding the cost, beyond one trillion dollars, showing the positive return from the investment. The cost of not modernizing the electricity grid would be very detrimental to the United States and the stability of the electricity grids going into the future, so investments into the smart grid are crucial and necessary.
Buchholtz, Katie; Fetters, Cooper; and LeComp, Cooper
"Integration of a Smart Grid in the United States,"
Student Papers in Public Policy: Vol. 3
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/sppp/vol3/iss1/2