talking about ‘smart grid’

The discussion about ‘smart grid’  never comes to an end. Even at the White House  President Obama  emphasizes to  support the development of wind and solar power and to use less energy.electriciteitsnetwerk

The future of smart grid is a world where home thermostats and appliance work automatically,  depending on the cost of power. A world where a boiler gets power from a neighbour’s rooftop solar panel and  a plug-in hybrid electric car charges in one minute at a very hot day  and the next moment sends back the electricity  to prevent  the grid  going down.

A world in which energy companies will be warned directly when a transformer  is out of order and  can choose easily among energy sources. Wind and solar energy will produce energy  from coal-burning plants and provide homes and business automatically from prearranged power agreements.

‘ The electric network will be  a  close cooperation of information technology and automation technology’, said Bob Gilligan, vice president for transmission at GE Energy. ‘ This is the energie Internet which is hunting the smart grid development. In the next ten years  there will be applications of which nobody can says if  whether we shall need them.’

Smart grid is the future for  hundreds of  technology companies and utilities and for technology there will be  $4,5 bilion  available  in federal economic recovery. However, cost estimates run as high as $75 billion  and the question is; who will  pay for the bill?

Today’s grid is an aging spiderweb of power lines that crisscross  the country. An inefficient one-way movement of electrons from power plants to consumer. The grid has to be more flexible and reliable and more easily controlling the flow of electrons. From houses and business  energy will flow and neighbours will use local power in stead of a single source.

It is important to convince people of the  benefit from smart grid.  The purchase may be  more expensive, but  through efficiency and demand reduction it will save 5 to 15 percent.  So this pays for itself.

Although a Smart Grid can save substantially on costs, we have to realize that about 60% or more of centrally generated power is wasted. So it may be a wise policy to invest also in decentralized power generation. Not only in Solar PV systems and wind turbines, but also in micro CHP (Combined heat and Power on a domestic scale). Here, virtually no energy is wasted.

Others are also worried about security.  If not very well secured, it can be a  major securety risk.  So smart grid has to be incredibly secure.  And maybe consumers will turn the thermostat down if they feel spied in their home.

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