Is it true that humans learn from experience?
If so, how about Nations that provide citizens their daily sense of security.
If so, Hurricane Sandy could serve as one ginormous "learning experience" ...
Post-mortem premature, as recovery continues
by Phil Carson, intelligentutility.com -- Nov 18, 2012
In the power sector, one question is: did smart grid technology aid in preparation, response and recovery from the hurricane? Another question: is the first question a fair one?
The short answer, taking the second first, is: of course! Stakeholders want to know whether their investments have been productive. We're all shelling out big time to modernize the grid. Didn't many utilities sell advanced metering infrastructure on the promise of customers "saving money" and increased reliability for the system? The first claim, based more on active energy management in the face of dynamic prices than the result of mere awareness of energy use data, remains somewhat theoretical as dynamic pricing remains scarce.
The answer to the first question is that it's premature to say, but fair to conclude that generalizations are difficult. Where sea water flooded a substation vault, smart grid technology as we know it is of little use. Where tree damage in, say, leafy New Jersey -- the suburbs raison d'etre -- affected as much as one-third the shady canopy, the damage was so extensive that we'll all be fascinated whether millions of last gasps from smart meters really mattered. Did data from smart grid systems really enable utilities to better deploy field crews?
Smart Grids which basically measure and shuffle "peak usage" loads -- aren't really so smart, when there are "no more peaks." Are they?
America built an intrastate transportation system -- that for the most part works. It connects markets from coast to coast. Seamlessly.
Why have we not yet seen the same need for an equally robust intrastate Energy system?
Patch work is great for quilts and old jeans -- not so great for a 21st century Electric Utility system.
Storm should reset stakeholder expectations, renew commitment
by Phil Carson, intelligentutility.com -- Nov 19, 2012
The starting point is to acknowledge the role of physical damage to the grid and the laws of cost/benefit analysis.
It's simply not possible to harden the sprawling electric transmission and distribution grid against all eventualities, Mansoor told me, echoing a widely held view. "All eventualities" cannot be predicted, hardening can never be 100 percent and the cost of even attempting this is prohibitive and ill-advised.
But the experience gained in dealing with Hurricane Sandy raises several issues that require attention, he said. Utilities have work to do, regulators have prudent costs to consider and end-use customers need tools and strategies to cope, as well.
"We see a three-pronged approach to resiliency," Mansoor said of EPRI's approach. "First is hardening. This could involve things such as undergrounding, vegetation management, hydrophobic coating for lines, substation storm surge and seismic design criteria. The second aspect is recovery: identifying the location of damage, isolating the damaged portion and restoring power. The third prong is survivability -- how can we equip consumers with technologies beyond a candle to better cope with a prolonged outage? -- which is the least-resourced area.
We all talk about about Jobs -- Jobs that can't be outsourced.
Well, building that next super-highway which supports our super-life-styles would mean Jobs.
American neighborhoods should not go dark, everytime there is a wind storm.
American neighborhoods should not be reliant on the local power generators, when it is technologically feasible to ship energy from coast to coast.
From the solar farms of desert southwest to the metropolis of the suburban California sprawl.
From the wind farms of the high plains to the mega-planners locked in the DC bubble.
It is possible, if only we had a truly Smart-Super-Grid.
You know, like we once built the rail and the road systems -- that make the American way of life possible.
It is time to do it again. Think BIG. Look Ahead. Past the fences on our front yards.
You know, get off our collective 20th century butts. ... The clock is ticking.