Brilliant minds—Nikola Tesla, Thomas A. Edison—and great engineers produced the marvel of the electric grid. It has united and fed the vast complex that is modern industrial and post-industrial society. But like the Scarecrow in Oz, the grid lacks a brain.
Advances in electronics, communication and information technology now are enabling engineers to give the grid a brain. In the last decade, grassroots initiatives have sprung up around the country to create what has come to be called the smart grid.