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Smartening-up electricity supply

Google and GE are among those working on a new way of supplying electricity to homes and businesses – smart grids are hailed by some as a miracle cure for global warming, writes Conal Walsh

Suddenly, the talk everywhere is of smart grids. In the boardrooms of GE and Siemens, among green activists and along the corridors of political power, this new way of delivering energy to homes and businesses is being held up as a 21st century salvation from fuel shortages and environmental destruction. New, computerised generators and transmitters will revolutionise the relationship consumers have with their energy suppliers, enabling them to choose what sources their electricity comes from, when to buy it and at what price. That, at least, is what the champions of smart grids say, among them the US president. Barack Obama called on Congress earlier this year to "act without delay" in pa

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