Obama, the mid-terms and the future of the Smart Grid - Embedded.com

Obama, the mid-terms and the future of the Smart Grid

With the mid-term elections in the U.S. only two weeks away, my Editor’s Top Pick on Embedded.com this week Robust design principles for home smart grid metering takes on an added importance.

Shortly after his election, President Obama got things rolling on a number of infrastructure investment initiatives – the most important of which had to do with the Smart Grid. In addition to going a long way to solving a number of power and energy conservation problems facing the country, his efforts have been a boon for the electronics industry and to embedded systems design community.

The community has reflected this with many design articles, technical papers, and news and feature stories submitted to Embedded.com and ESD in the past two years. Some of the most timely and useful have included:

Getting basic utility meter designs ready for the Smart Grid
Taming Terawatt-hour appetites with efficient motor controls
“Architecting” the New Age Smart Utility Meters
Reducing Household Energy use with ARM Powered Smart Meters
Elements of Basic Utility Meters
Architecting Tomorrow’s Electrical Grid
Designing intelligent smart grid systems

My concern is that the current political environment in the United States does not seem to be conducive to further governmental investments in these critical technologies, given the Republican Party’s ongoing opposition to almost anything that President Obama favors.

If the Republicans gain control of either the House or Senate in the upcoming election, Obama’s efforts to invest in such critical technologies could be stopped dead in the water.This is somewhat ironic, because previous to Obama’s election as President, Republican legislators where among the most enthusiastic proponents of infrastructure investment.

However, given how fast the technology has been developing, I think that no matter what the political machinations and setbacks, the momentum achieved so far may be enough to offset any possible reduction in governmental support.

What do you think, given the already impressive technology advances made so far? I would like to hear from you. (EET/Embedded.com Editor Bernard Cole, bccole@acm.com ).

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