University of Pittsburgh
April 16, 2009

Smart-Grid Funds Announced by Vice President Biden Critical Step in Updating Nation's Aged Power Grid, Pitt Expert Says

Pitt electric power expert available to discuss how a smart grid would allow more energy efficiency through real-time control and integration of alternative energy sources
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Vice President Joseph Biden's April 16 announcement of more than $3.3 billion in federal grants to establish a national electric 'smart' grid is an important and overdue step toward modernizing the United States' antiquated power infrastructure, according to a University of Pittsburgh electric power-grid expert. The smart grid consists of digitally networked devices that can monitor power generation and delivery and respond to customer demand. The advanced grid has been a priority of President Barack Obama's administration.

Gregory Reed, a professor of electrical and computer engineering in Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering and director of the school's Power and Energy Initiative, is available to comment on how a smart grid would allow for more energy efficiency through real-time monitoring of customer usage and better integration of alternative energy sources. Deregulation of the power grid in the past 20 years has resulted in underinvestment and reduced reliability in electricity delivery, Reed said.

"The smart grid is critical to rejuvenating the nation's electric power and energy infrastructure and prepare it for future growth," Reed said. "Consumers could have more information in real time regarding energy pricing and delivery. All market participants, from producers to consumers, would have an enhanced ability for real-time control of energy usage, leading to higher levels of conservation, savings, and energy efficiency. Also, we could draw from a wider range of renewable and alternative energy sources, including next-generation nuclear plants, clean-coal technology, and a host of other generation systems. The establishment of standards around these new technologies to properly integrate them into the power network will also be an important element of smart-grid development."

Reed is a recognized authority on advanced electric power generation, transmission and distribution systems, and power electronics technologies with 25 years of experience in the power industry. Before coming to Pitt, Reed focused on creating more efficient and advanced electric power systems. He has written or coauthored more than 50 papers and technical articles on power system analysis and the application of power systems technologies. He was a major contributor to the drafts and proposals of the 2005 U.S. Energy Policy Act, including written language pertaining to energy-related research, education, and market initiatives.

Reed worked previously at KEMA Inc.-an international power and energy consulting firm-as senior vice president of the power system planning and management group where he advised North American firms on power systems management, power transmission, and technology applications. He spent most of the previous decade at Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc., most recently as director of business and technology development. Reed began his career in the electric power industry as an engineer at the Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc.