Hope for the Future: The Smart Grid Is Just What Obama Calls For
In his inauguration speech today, Pres. Barack Obama noted, "the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet."
He could not be clearer that the United States needs to become more energy efficient. And in his first formal address as president, he called upon the American people to find a way to employ their legendary inventiveness to create technologies to solve this and other major problems facing the nation.
"We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology wonders to raise health-care quality and lower its cost," Obama insisted. "We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age."
Fortunately, one of the promising technologies that the new president is counting on is not too far away: using the latest in computers and communications tools to transmit and distribute energy more efficiently. This burgeoning engineering movement has been dubbed "the smart grid."
The ideas behind it were presented recently at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum West (Reff West) conference in Seattle, 27-28 October 2008. In a conference session, leading energy experts discussed breakthroughs that are bringing the promises of the smart grid closer to reality. The full session was recorded and a complete online video is also now available for public viewing.
Produced by the IEEE Power and Energy Society and ScienCentral Inc., the Reff West video describes the smart grid and how its scale will reduce our carbon footprint through energy efficiency and the integration of renewable sources of energy in coming decades.
It makes for must-see viewing by those who have committed themselves to taking up the challenge laid down by the new American president this afternoon.
As the history of the United States has shown, this country has repeatedly dug itself out of its own holes by inspiration and perspiration, using technology of its own making to create a more prosperous and equitable world.
So that's one call to action from the incoming president that we should all answer as best we can in the years ahead.