Smart Grids and Smart Homes: Part 1. The Smart Grid
You've probably heard of the Smart Grid and are aware that it has an energy conservation element to it. What you may not be aware of is that over the next decade our entire power grid and the way we use power in the home will be transformed. Those who embrace the new Smart Grid technologies stand to pay substantially less for their energy (and produce less CO2) than those who do not. So, what should we be doing now and in the near future to benefit from all this?
Generally, in the US the way power is transmitted from the power stations to consumers has not changed since the grid was first built in the early 1900's. Power is produced in power stations ("generators" is the industry term), moved to populated areas via high-voltage transmission lines (the tall steel pylons you see crossing the countryside), then to homes and businesses via a lower-voltage distribution system.
Until recently it has been a completely one-way system, from the generators to your home. Critically, it is also a system where supply must precisely equal demand, as there is currently no way to store large amounts of excess electrical energy. Can you imagine the size of the battery you'd need just to store excess wind energy from wind turbines on a windy day?!
Currently however, most people see a standard fixed rate per kWh on their power bill, which varies significantly around the country. The power retailers do their best to estimate wholesale power costs ahead of time, and with significant involvement from regulators a fixed figure is calculated.
How do we achieve this? Enter the Smart Grid.
Energy storage will also start to enter the scene. What do you get when you plug in thousands of electric cars? One giant virtual battery is what! Precisely managed supply and demand may not be so much of an issue in the future if car batteries could release energy not required by local systems back into the grid (and earn the owner some cash in return). And you can take it for granted that variable retail power pricing is coming to your home soon. Meaning that those who can manage how and when they use power will benefit from lower-cost energy, whereas those who don't will pay more.
I believe we are entering an age of energy innovation, the scale and impact of which will rival that of the Internet. Are you ready for Energy 2.0?
The subsequent articles in this series will focus on the more practical elements of the Smart Grid, and how you can get involved.
More Useful Articles and Reviews Articles:
✔ Review: Verticus for iPad
iOS gamers everywhere are familiar with the genre of infinite forward progress apps - Mega Jump, Canabalt, and a host of other run/jump/fly-until-you-die...✔ Review: Clear Spot Voyager 4G wifi hotspot
Clear Voyager 4g HotspotI'm constantly on the go and with just about every site I visit available via secure SSL connection, I typically...✔ Review: Dropcam HD wifi video camera
Whether you're security paranoid, want to keep an eye on the nanny, have a summer or winter home you'd like to peek in...✔ Audiovox Car Connection Review
I have the smartest house on the block with a wifi-enabled thermostat and garage door opener, along with a complex web of wireless...✔ Review: Slingbox 500
I should start with a candid admission: I'm not a huge television watcher. I catch soccer matches on Fox Soccer Channel, and watch...
Let's stay in touch!
Sign up for my weekly AskDaveTaylor Newsletter and you'll receive even more tech and gadget help right to your inbox, along with exclusive news and industry updates. It's good stuff. I promise!
I do have a comment, now that you mention it!
Check This Out Too...
Look for Answers
All Our Categories
Apple iPad Help
Articles and Reviews
Auctions and Online Shopping
Blogs and Blogging
Building Web Site Traffic
Business and Management
Computer and Internet Basics
d) None of the Above
Google Gmail Help
Google Plus Help
Industry News and Trade Shows
iPhone and Cell Phone Help
iPod, Sony PSP and MP3 Player Help
Kindle Fire Help
Mac OS X Help
Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Shell Script Programming
Tech Support Video Help
The Writing Business
Twitter, LinkedIn and Social Network Help
Unix and Linux Help
Video Game Tips and Help
Windows PC Help
Find Me on Google+
ADT on G+