Electricity Requirements for a Digital Society

Electricity Requirements for a Digital Society

Walter S. Baer
Scott Hassell
Ben Vollaard
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 172
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr1617doe
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  • Book Info
    Electricity Requirements for a Digital Society
    Book Description:

    Greater use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) marks a U.S. transition toward a "digital society" that may profoundly affect electricity supply, demand, and delivery. RAND developed four 2001-2021 scenarios of ICT evolution and assessed their implications for U.S. electricity requirements. Even large deployment of ICTs will only modestly increase U.S. electricity use over the next two decades. The more pressing concern will be how to meet the increased need for higher-quality and more-reliable power that accompanies ICT use.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-3405-2
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. FIGURES
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. TABLES
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. SUMMARY
    (pp. xiii-xxii)
  7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  8. ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xxv-xxviii)
  9. Chapter One INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-4)

    Many Americans believe that the United States is moving steadily toward a digital society, although few would agree on precisely what this term means. To some, a digital society implies growing reliance on networked information and communications technologies (ICTs), with more and more people using the Internet and such other ICTs as cell phones, digital video recorders, digital music players and, of course, personal computers (PCs). To others, such a society suggests changes in the structure and operation of the economy that emphasize higher productivity, quicker obsolescence of capital goods and human skills, the use of customized processes to make...

  10. Chapter Two APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
    (pp. 5-10)

    To assess how information and communications technologies (ICTs) will affect electric power over the next 20 years, one must estimate what ICT developments will occur and what their effects are likely to be. While this clearly is not an easy task, there are various approaches, or methodologies, that can be employed as aids: technology forecasts, roadmaps, assessments, and scenarios.

    The first three of these approaches usually focus on a technological end point, range, or path. A technologyforecastis, as the term suggests, a prediction about the characteristics of a particular technology at a particular future time (Martino, 1978, pp....

  11. Chapter Three INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY SCENARIOS
    (pp. 11-34)

    As stated in Chapter Two, the principal drivers of our 20-year (2001–2021) scenarios are the overall use of and trust in information and communications technologies (ICTs), and the relative emphasis on centralized versus distributed ICT control. We first developed one scenario for the first five years, 2001 through 2006, that is common to all of the 20-year scenarios. This common scenario depicts a fairly straight-line extrapolation of current technical, demographic, and behavioral trends, without significant surprises.

    Figure 3.1 shows schematically the path from 2001 to 2006 within a two-by-two matrix whose vertical and horizontal axes are, respectively, the level...

  12. Chapter Four IMPLICATIONS OF THE SCENARIOS FOR U.S. ELECTRICITY USE
    (pp. 35-76)

    In this chapter, we project the implications of the information and communications technology (ICT) scenarios for electricity consumption in the United States over the next 20 years and compare our results with the forecasts made by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in theAEO 2002(Energy Information Administration, 2001). Our focus is on electricity use in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, because other sectors (notably, transportation) account for only a small percentage of current and projected electricity use.¹ Appendix B presents the assumptions we used in generating these projections.

    ICTs have three distinct influences on the use of...

  13. Chapter Five IMPLICATIONS OF THE SCENARIOS FOR THE U.S. ELECTRICITY SYSTEM
    (pp. 77-92)

    In addition to providing quantitative projections of electricity use, our analysis of the ICT scenarios identified four cross-cutting electricity supply issues that are of key importance:

    Assuring power quality for very large numbers of digital devices;

    Using ICT to improve grid reliability and operations;

    Using ICT to support distributed generation and storage;

    Reducing the vulnerability of the ICT and electricity infrastructures.

    This chapter discusses each of these issues in turn. We consider how each plays out in the different ICT scenarios, what unresolved questions and uncertainties remain, and what the possible implications are for the EERE and other DOE energy...

  14. Chapter Six CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
    (pp. 93-98)

    While previous debate has focused largely on how much electricity will be needed to power the Internet and related information and communications technology (ICT) equipment, our analysis concludes that very large increases in the number of digital devices and network usage over the next 20 years will have only modest effects on overall U.S. consumption of kilowatt-hours. More important for a digital society will be meeting the increased demand for high power quality and reliability (PQR). We recommend that EERE explicitly include the improvement of power quality as a goal in its strategic plan and in appropriate R&D and technology...

  15. Appendix A INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY SCENARIO MATRIX
    (pp. 99-116)
  16. Appendix B ICT-RELATED ELECTRICITY USE PROJECTIONS
    (pp. 117-130)
  17. REFERENCES
    (pp. 131-144)