Seeking to defuse criticism that the government was moving too slowly, and topping this week’s list of ARRA/Stimulus implementation moves, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced significant expansion of funding for smart grid development and the first of an anticipated 16 sets of standards for smart grid design and operation, with the remaining sets due to be released by September. Click here for a great overview of the implications of this move.
The other big story embedded in last week’s DOE/DOC event expanding smart grid funding was the clear evidence that the energy, internet security, and telecommunications worlds are continuing and accelerating their convergence. We are squarely in a world where fiber optics and satellites are becoming energy facilities every bit as much as coal plants and turbines. Are cyber warriors and cubicle geeks are the new linemen? The very definition of energy policy is being rewritten as information and electrons become an intertwined hybrid, and the boundaries between commodities and services blur. We will be paying attention.