A recent new market special issue of The Zweig Letter, the flagship publication of ZweigWhite, outlines the reasons why more firms are getting involved in smart grid work and the myriad opportunities that should be available in this arena.
"With regards to smart grid, we're on the brink of a flood of smart grid projects," says Wanda Reder, chairwoman of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Smart Grid Task Force. "The federal government released $4.3 billion in economic stimulus money for smart grid through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in December," she says.
"There's a lot of opportunity," Reder says. "The time is now. We have more money, more incentive, and more interest in taking this to a whole new level. We're thinking about the consumers more than ever before. With the communication piece of smart grid, it's all about making this a system of systems."
Godfrey Mungal, dean of the Santa Clara University School of Engineering, says there were about 25 or 30 employees of local engineering firms at a one-day smart grid overview on campus last fall. He expects the program will be repeated next fall, and says smart grid could eventually be included more formally in the school's graduate certificate program on renewable energy.
"Many engineers look at smart grid as where the future is and they see job openings that fit with what they're doing here," Mungal says. "The Obama administration has made it pretty clear this is a priority for them."
Reder sees no end in sight for smart grid advancements and improvements now that the genie is out of the bottle.
"There's always going to be an opportunity to make the grid a little smarter, a little more dynamic," she says. The federal wave of activity is likely to be followed by work for state and local utilities. Many states aren't involved in smart grid yet because they have yet to adopt legislation. California "has always been a leader in the thinking," she says, but "all states are in different spots of this challenge."
To order a copy of the special issue which also includes looks at high-speed rail and the best ways for firms to break in to new areas, featuring a Point-Counterpoint article pairing, visit http://cl.exct.net/?ju=fe26167671600d7f721576&ls=fdee1d70746307797413797d&m=ff2e13727265&l=febe1c7873650178&s=fe3415757162077d711771&jb=ffcf14&t=.