Energy efficiency is a tool to reduce the need for base load, while demand response is used primarily to reduce peak loads. These are two very different tools to deliver very different outcomes, but we often hear energy efficiency and demand response talked about as if they are interchangeable. They are complementary perhaps, but not the same.
It appears that much of what is being developed today is focused on communications platforms and protocols to move data. Moving data, however, will not make utilities any smarter about how to optimally operate the grid. In fact, more data might make things worse. If the data can't be harnessed and converted into grid intelligence, then the notion of a smart grid won't evolve beyond the conceptual stage.
By Joe Belechak - Transmission & Distribution World, August 2007