Smart grid
Many people have expressed the need to modernize and upgrade our electrical transmission system to a unified smart grid. A smart grid system would employ a nation-wide “backbone” of high voltage transmission lines that connect “smart” local electric utilities to distant power plants. As more local utility networks are upgraded to smart grids, interactions with these backbone power lines will become more coordinated. A smart grid would maximize the efficiency of our nation’s electricity use, while greatly reducing waste and loss. Hydropower from the northwest could be directed to the Dakotas if that area’s wind turbine output decreases. Solar power from Arizona would be able to supply manufacturing in Ohio, or evening wind power from the Northeast could be used to supply power peak demand during the day in Nevada. Environmentalists say a unified smart grid and renewable power sources are essential to eliminating our carbon emissions. The cost of a unified smart grid has been estimated at $400-$500 billion. Some say these grandiose smart grid plans are fine, but for now, this technology consists of wireless transmitters in “smart” utility meters that many people do not seem to want. These transmitters tell our utility companies the amount of energy we are using and how we are using it. During power shortages, some utilities have the ability to cycle the compressors of home air conditioners rather than allow them to run continuously. Some people opposed to this aspect of the smart grid are worried about privacy concerns, while others prefer not to have microwave transmitters in their home. It is currently the choice of a consumer whether to have these smart meters installed.

Pending Legislation:
S.1232 - Smart Grid Act of 2015

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Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

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