Funding a new infrastructure in an age of uncertainty.
Massoud Amin is Chairman of the IEEE Smart Grid, an ASME fellow, and a member of two utility industry reliability groups – the Texas Reliability Entity (as board chairman) and the Midwest Reliability Organization (as a board member). At the University of Minnesota he serves as professor of electrical and computer engineering, and as director of the school’s Technological Leadership Institute (TLI). Dr. Amin has researched and written on self-healing grid concepts and solutions for two decades. Links to his work are available on the TLE’s website at http://massoud-amin.umn.edu/publications.html.
We are witnessing today the birth of a new mega-infrastructure. It will emerge from the convergence of energy with telecommunications, transportation, Internet, and electronic commerce.
Starting with the electric grid, which underpins all of these interdependent systems, new ways are being sought to improve network efficiency and eliminate congestion problems without seriously diminishing reliability and security. But with these efforts come uncertainty - plus a general disruption to industry and commerce that may well prove greater than any transition yet seen.
Of course, the job of controlling a heterogeneous, widely dispersed, yet globally interconnected system like the electric grid poses serious technological problems. Yet it will prove even more complex and difficult to control for optimal efficiency and maximum benefit to ultimate consumers while still allowing all the various business components to compete fairly and freely.