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GEM Instructor Paul Alvarez releases new book: Smart Grid Hype & Reality

June 12, 2014
Paul Alvarez

Paul Alvarez

Wired Group President Paul Alvarez, who teaches the Management of Renewable Energies course for the Global Energy Management (GEM) Program, has published a new book that questions the value delivered by huge investments in the smart grid.

In Smart Grid Hype & Reality, industry consultant Paul Alvarez concludes that while consumer and environmental benefits are indeed available from smart grid investments, current regulations and ratemaking processes discourage almost all utilities from achieving them.

“This book presents a well-researched argument that the potential economic value of most smart grid deployments is not being realized for customers,” Alvarez said. “For example, research indicates over half the economic benefits available from a smarter grid stem from energy conservation. Unfortunately, traditional rate-making practices penalize utilities for energy conservation, and customer benefits are left on the table as a result.”

Smart Grid Hype & Reality crunches the numbers and presents definitive research on smart grid capabilities, costs, benefits, drivers, and limiters in typical and ideal case scenarios. The book is designed to help utilities, regulators, customers, and other stakeholders understand available technologies and the changes necessary to utility, customer, and regulatory and governance systems to realize the potential of the smart grid.

“The book recommends dramatic changes to ratemaking processes,” Alvarez said. “It also addresses the difficulty of implementing utility organizational and operational changes, and lack of consumer and utility interest in valuable smart grid capabilities.”

 Paul Alvarez leads the Wired Group, a consultancy helping clients unleash the latent value in distribution utility businesses. His perspectives have been formed by 15 years in the utility industry as both insider and consultant to industry regulators, associations, and suppliers.

Alvarez has led comprehensive, unbiased evaluations of large smart grid deployments, including Xcel Energy’s Boulder, Colorado project and Duke Energy’s Cincinnati deployment for the Ohio Public Utilities Commission. These projects, thought to be the only unbiased, comprehensive evaluations of full, large-scale smart grid deployments, are in the public domain and available for download at

Paul Alvarez is an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado Denver’s Global Energy Management Program and Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Utilities. He holds an undergraduate degree in finance from Indiana University and a master’s degree in management from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

Smart Grid Hype & Reality is available in soft cover at the Wired Group website,, and at

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