In a just released paper by Prof. Damien Ernst from the University of Liege (December 2013) he argues that the the main force behind the creation of a global electricity grid is to be able to incorporate renewable energy thereby lessening our reliance on fossil fuels. Among other things, Ernst sees the transition towards a global grid as an inevitability but that the globalisation of the electricity commodity will give rise to serious challenges to national power industries. Ernst concludes with the warning that countries relying too much on the global grid for their electricity supply may experience very adverse effects.
Ernst may be right in the original concept for a need for a global electricity grid: incorporating renewable energy sources, but I would argue that the overriding global push for the smart grid (Ernst doesn’t mention the smart grid – but it would likely be an integral part of his envisioned global grid) has little to do with renewable energy or ‘sustainability’ but all to do with corporations seizing the opportunity to improve their market share (and profits). This is achieved by endlessly creating and marketing new smart appliances / gadgets – and then convincing the consuming public that they really do need all these wondrous things.