AI poses ‘unprecedented risks’ and benefits for US grid

By Peter Behr | 04/23/2024 06:46 AM EDT

Artificial intelligence might revolutionize the grid, but AI data centers and other supercomputing could overwhelm power supplies.

Cyber energy collage. illustration

Claudine Hellmuth/E&E News (illustration); Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr (drafting sketch); MaxPixel (turbines and transmission lines); Freepik (cyber)

The race is on to boost the transformative benefits that artificial intelligence offers the U.S. power grid and limit the risks experts say it will pose — amid signs that electricity demand is set to rise dramatically to meet the needs of America’s digital economy.

“We have the opportunity to build a power grid that’s better and cleaner with the help of AI,” said Geri Richmond, undersecretary for science and innovation at the Department of Energy.

“At the same time,” she said last week at a conference hosted by the nonprofit Foundation for American Science and Technology, “the rapid pace of AI development and accelerating investment by global competitors and widespread AI access also carries unprecedented risks.”


To try and protect against those risks, DOE is expected to release several road maps in the coming weeks and is channeling funding into AI research.