Thank you for taking the time to read my post and especially for sharing your thoughts.
It is clear that you and I have dramatically different viewpoints on the necessity and nature of a smarter grid. I am not of the opinion that we are in the midst of a crisis in our legacy AC grid, but I absolutely believe that one is looming and sooner then most folks think. I am not alone in this viewpoint. For example, the Electric Advisory Committee, in its January 2009 report, "Keeping the Lights on in the New World," reports:
“. . . the current electric power delivery system infrastructure . . . will be unable to ensure a reliable, cost-effective, secure, and environmentally sustainable supply of electricity for the next two decades . . . Much of the electricity supply and delivery infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life.”
The members of the EAC are not romantics, extremists or naive. Nor are they acedemics, policy wonks, bureaucrats or politicians. They are the leaders of the electric utility industry, the folks who are responsible for the planning, construction, operation, maintenance and management of the grid. To ignore their informed and expert opinion would be foolhardy. That is why the industry has been investing billions upon billions of dollars in measures to move to a new kind of grid . . . renewable energy resources, demand response programs, automated distribution automation systems, and many more.
I am not suggesting that our legacy AC grid should or even could be retrofitted to be a DC grid, much less replaced by one. However, I do believe that there will be DC microgrids and nanogrids that augment the AC grid for all of the reasons that I set forth in my blog post. DC transmission connections are already used in a few places in the US and much more widely in other parts of the world. Customers already use DC microgrids daily . . . they are parked in their driveways, docked at marinas, waiting for them to board at airports, used by them at KOA campgrounds, etc. And data centers all over the US operate DC microgrids that are simultaneously connected to the grid so long as the grid is providing service. Nearly every commercial building in the US uses tiny DC nanogrids to provide battery operated emergency backup lighting in offices and stairwells in the event of grid outages. Pretty much every electronic device in my home and office is a DC nanogrid that gets its power from the AC grid, and several of them get power from a DC battery powerd UPS when the grid is down.
Finally, on a more idealogical note, an increasing number of consumers in our country and the rest of the world have real motivations to "dump the utilities" because they are dissatisfied with their price, reliability, sustainability, adverse environmental impact, etc.
Thanks again for participating in the discussion.