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Ocassionally we hear about the intelligent grid.  Reporters refer to it in an offhand manner.  We know the building of it is in our future and yet neither Simulus I or Stimulus II contains much if any support for it.  Yet, the grid is a major step to a green economy.

The intelligent grid will keep blackouts, as just ocurred in the southwest recently, from happening.  The intelligent grid would allow us to harvest renewable energy from places previously unavailable.  The intelligent grid would encourage non-polluting sources of energy to come online.  The intelligent grid can be made terrorist-proof.

This construction would take place in the lower 48 states thus spreading the construction across the country.  This is a political as well as economic advantage.  The U.S. could use the power of imminent domain to secure the right-of-way.  The President could fast track projects cutting through red tape.

Yet we have nothing done about it.  I guess I just don't understand the other priorities.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The new grid is still on the... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sybil Liberty, koNko

    ...drawing board, or more correctly, sitting on the hard drives of those designing it. Nothing is more sad than a vital need unfulfilled.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 09:36:49 AM PDT

  •  It depends on where you live (0+ / 0-)

    Here in Texas we are on a separate system for the most part from the rest of the country. We are in the process of replacing the old mechanical meters with new digital ones, meters that can provide real time information on outages and usage. That info can be hooked up to a smart thermostat in your house. And that can speak to your appliances. You can even watch your usage in real time on the internet.

    Outside your house most new transmission lines have fiber optics running along them now for better control. And there has been a major shift in how the system is viewed (from regional to nodal units). This makes easier to 'see' how the individual parts are working. The new lines are opening up access for new wind farms.

    So there is some progress I would say. But it not all roses; that imminent domain thing? I've done it and let's see how feel about telling someone a week before Christmas they have to be out by mid-June. Or telling a single mom your taking the house she worked herself to death to buy so that her kids could have a home. It happens - I know firsthand. Be careful what you wish for.

    "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

    by just another vet on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 10:04:55 AM PDT

  •  I think you mean smartgrids (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    just another vet, seriously70

    This will be an evolutionary process that takes years to deploy and realize since:

    :: Protocols and standards are just being developed
    :: Both provider side (power source) and consumer side (appliances) need to evolve or be upgraded to communicate with each other
    :: Integration of renewables in many cases will occur incrementally as they come on line but to fully exploit them will actually take years as consumption side regulation has to reach a certain critical mass before the renewables can be most efficiently used.

    A simple example is this: you have a house full of appliances you use continuously (e.g, a refrigerator, maybe aircon in summer) periodically in more or less set and inflexible patterns (e.g. electric cooking appliances at meal times) and those the could be managed flexibly (e.g., a washing machine you could set and allow the grid to run during a low demand period).

    On consumer side, your appliances must be able to communicate with the grid. Can they?

    Of course it is a lot more complex, I'm only trying to give you the flavor of the problem.

    What you can expect as standard emerge is for power companies to first adopt power generation and transmission side smart grid technology first and for the consumer side to evolve more slowly and naturally as appliances are replaced their life cycle.

    In fact, many companies are working on this on various levels, and some of the biggies such as Cisco and IBM are actually fairly advanced in their basic technology and working with various utilities and governments around the world to promote standards.

    5 years from now the movement will have more visible progress, in the near-term the baby is still learning to walk and talk.

    This i something governments play an important role in particularly with respect to standards and regulations, but not something government will "Do".

    It would be nice to see Republicans accept more efficient light bulbs first and that would actually save a lot more power a lot sooner than any smart grid will ever do.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 10:18:00 AM PDT

    •  As for government (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      what I experience is that they set the limit on our return along with of course proving over site and regulation. So there is a guaranteed amount that can be made, but one that a company cannot go over. It has to be reset regularly, and we don't always get the level we want. This arrangement helps keep things stable, making it much easier to get loans.

      "The next time everyone will pay for it equally, and there won't be any more Chosen Nations, or any Others. Poor bastards all." ~The Boomer Bible

      by just another vet on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 10:35:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Standards and regulations are really important (0+ / 0-)

        In so many ways one would have to write a book to explain.

        But at this point, I think the immediate concerns are to establish industry roadmaps and communications protocols that are downward compatible on one side, and not too constraining to innovation on another.

        This is ultimately the work of organizations working together such as IEE, IEC, ISO, etc.

        Until basic international standards exist, what you have is the big players racing to embed their proprietary standards before they come to the negotiation table.

        Once standards exist, it has a pump priming effect on industry.

        We can compare it to the Internet. At this point, what we have are local networks struggling to become Intranets and then an Internet.

        And in fact, what smart grids will be are electrical transmission and data transmission grids integrated, whence the involvement and importance of Datacom companies such as IBM and Cisco and Power Infrastructure companies such as Siemens and GE, just to name a few.

        The US government needs to get on board a little faster if it wants to set the pace, as it now stands European-Asian consortia are leading since Asia, Africa and South America are the growth drivers and Europeans have hotly pursued these markets. I would really consider GE and IBM the American standard bearers in this race (to their credit).

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Sat Sep 10, 2011 at 09:18:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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