Stephen Hadden and Shannon Messer, writing at Energy Central/T&D Automation:
The concept of an intelligent electric utility infrastructure or “Smart Grid” is attracting wide interest among utilities, consultants, regulators, and other utility stakeholders. The widespread interest, however, is accompanied by widely differing expectations about when Smart Grid will emerge. Some consultants and vendors confidently proclaim that the Smart Grid is here or “just around the corner.”
… [But] we may never be able to declare that we have achieved the Smart Grid. The very concept of a Smart Grid is likely to continue to evolve with the developing grid automation technology. Today’s Internet is more than the vision of the National Information Infrastructure (NII, remember that?) described 15 years ago. But no one rang a bell when we “achieved” the NII. Today’s vision of the information superhighway remains ahead of us, yet to be attained … Similarly, by the time our operating electric distribution system becomes what we now call Smart Grid, the concept of Smart Grid will have been further advanced and the “finish line” will have moved ahead of us into the future.
But as they explain, just because the finish line naturally keeps moving, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth racing toward Smart Grid goals.