Fact: The electrical grid in the United States experiences more blackouts than that of any other developed nation. Much of the physical equipment on our grids has aged to the point of obsolescence. And most industry experts would agree that the American utilities industry has reached a critical point. The message is clear: Update the infrastructure now or face serious consequences. At the same time, utilities are also experiencing a transformation to their business models (some of which, like the grids themselves, are more than 100 years old). Green energy sources, referred to as Distributed Energy Resources, are turning the centralized power generation and distribution model inside out.
The good news for the electrical grid in the United States is that for the first time in a long time, organizations and the government are coming together to make significant investments in infrastructure. Government subsidies such as the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 have provided US$ 4.5 billion for use in grid upgrades. But, that's barely a drop in the bucket compared to the infrastructure investments of other countries. Still, such investments will not only improve and upgrade the physical infrastructure in the United States, but will also better enable and optimize a 'smart grid' that can recognize, circumvent, and even prevent problems before they occur. Ultimately, smart infrastructure will improve the reliability and resiliency of our power grid.