The 20th-century electric grid is an extraordinary feat of engineering that has been a core driver of economic progress in developed countries. But it’s finally starting to show its limitations in the 21st century.
The grid of the past valued what was once necessary: centralization, powerful and cheap fossil fuels, and a regulatory compact that allowed monopoly utilities to serve the widest area possible.
But the emerging grid — or at least the grid that people hope will emerge — values an entirely new set of objectives: environmental performance, two-way communication, more business competition and more consumer technology choice.
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