Microsoft creates feature news stories on a range of topics from time to time and it’s our turn in the limelight!

The feature story, available here, discusses the current energy environment given new demands for energy and the new technologies that are ready to meet them, especially the smart grid.

It’s an interesting topic because normally power grids aren’t often the subject of heated debate. Most consumers don’t think about electricity until it fails them and leaves them in the dark, without air conditioning or heating, and a useless box and monitor on their desks. But electricity is moving to the forefront of societal concerns with the prospect of rising prices for the fuel sources that drive power generation, the environmental concerns associated with burning fossil fuels, and a population that will be growing from 6.8 billion to 9 billon people worldwide. These factors are shining a bright spotlight on power issues – how it’s made, marketed, used.

For consumers, many are asking valid questions about what does all of this “smart grid stuff” really mean for them?  How will smart meters help me? There are so many different visions and definitions for the smart grid that sometimes it seems like you may have better luck getting the answer from a Ouija board (you may want to do a Bing search clip_image002on that one!).

But if you’re curious, this feature news story discusses all these issues together in a concise form that I have not seen in many other places. We encourage journalists and newspapers to cut and paste this article for your special features as we believe this is what things might look like 10 to 20 years into the future. And I think this story is well written for students who are writing reports about the smart grid and the role of information technology in its evolution. If you have a minute you may want to take a look. – Jon C. Arnold