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Chopra's resignation could impact smart grid implementation

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Tuesday, February 07, 2012

White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra recently submitted his resignation to potentially head to Virginia for a political run - a move that could have a significant impact on the future of the smart grid, FierceSmartGrid reports.

In Chopra's run as CTO, President Barack Obama lauded his work to expand access to broadband for rural communities and other accomplishments, such as the National Wireless Initiative, the Policy Framework for a 21st Century Grid and the Green Button Initiative.

"[Chopra's] leadership and the team put in place to support the Green Button initiative have created more than enough momentum to keep it going," said Erich Gunther, Chairman of the Department of Energy's (DOE) GridWise Architecture Council.

Chopra told The Atlantic that he hoped his smart grid vision would be one of his "legacy deliverables."

"We're just getting started in some of this, but we're absolutely at the tip of the spear in gathering an evidence base and sharing it," he stated.

As an advisor, Chopra says he analyzed data and technology, and made recommendations based on his findings. With his departure, many are wondering if the Obama Administration, which was reportedly excited about smart grid development upon taking office but quickly found it overwhelming, is equipped to continue making progress on smart grid initiatives.

However, Pike Research's Smart Grid Director Bob Gohn told the news provider that absence of Chopra will not fuel a smart grid dry spell.

"I don't foresee any impact," he stated. "Though he has been a strong advocate for smart grid investments, the role of the federal government on the smart grid build out will diminish anyway as the stimulus money winds down this year and into 2013."

Still, others in the industry do not carry Gohn's optimism that Chopra's resignation will not have an effect on the future of the smart grid.

Gunther told the media outlet that Chopra was an "amazing advocate" for the smart grid, and that his "cheerleader-like" personality was largely responsible for strong responses from vendors and utilities concerning smart grid deployment.

Without Chopra, the private sector will take more control, the news source stated. SUBNET Solutions Inc. has helped a number of the top utilities in North America install substation automation technologies and remote access capabilities onto existing electrical infrastructure, helping to drive smart grid implementation. 

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