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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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Smart Grid?

A neat article about what a "Smart Grid" is

http://www.hometoys.com/ezine/09.04/smartgrid/index.htm

(snip)

A smart grid delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using digital technology to save energy, reduce cost and increase reliability. Such a modernized electricity network is being promoted by many governments as a way of addressing energy independence or global warming issues. For example, if smart grid technologies made the United States grid 5% more efficient, it would equate to eliminating the fuel and greenhouse gas emissions from 53 million cars.

Now that is impressive ... but still a bit vague about what the thing actually is and does. How about if I do the engineer thing and break this down into point form.

The "Grid" as it is today.
Why does it need to get "Smart"
How do we make it "Smart"
Who will make it "Smart"
When will it become "Smart"
What other stuff can a Smart Grid do?

(snip)

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 11:30 AM
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what if it becomes too smart and takes over though?

-Jason
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 12:22 PM
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Terminator May 21st........... oh yeah

But seriously. Smart grid technology is pretty neat. Especially when you talk about eliminating cable and phone coming to the house and just using the power plug to connect everything.

Last edited by TripleZ; 05-13-2009 at 12:27 PM.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TripleZ View Post
Terminator May 21st........... oh yeah

But seriously. Smart grid technology is pretty neat. Especially when you talk about eliminating cable and phone coming to the house and just using the power plug to connect everything.
That's great, until that one source fails, than everything is inop
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by bwa View Post
That's great, until that one source fails, than everything is inop
how much of your stuff works when the power goes out anyways

-Jason
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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how much of your stuff works when the power goes out anyways
My cable (battery backup in router plus my own battery backup), my computers, TV, and surround sound (all on multiple backups).

Someday I'll figure out how to get an emergency backup generator...though I'm not sure we have enough power outages to need it yet. Though for the zombie invasion....

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonely Raven View Post
My cable (battery backup in router plus my own battery backup), my computers, TV, and surround sound (all on multiple backups).

Someday I'll figure out how to get an emergency backup generator...though I'm not sure we have enough power outages to need it yet. Though for the zombie invasion....
trust me - you are the exception to the rule. Also, the amount of power draw you get from most of those devices, I would have to imagine a ton of batteries to get any usable life from them.

The realistic answer is that data over power, may or may not be possible, but it would be a HUGE infrastructure undertaking and isn't likely to happen anytime in the near future.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 01:21 PM
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Smart Grid - next generation power distribution system for US.
Currently a great buzz about it, but it will cost $Billions to construct.

Essentially, many more solar and wind sources, coupled with distributed storage in homes and on poles to handle peak and spike demand. Would allow home-based wind and solar generation to be monitored and utilized by the power co for neighborhood demand satisfaction.

NPR had an interesting hr about it about a week ago. Forget which program it was on, but was on one of the long-form weekend programs.

Craig
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
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how much of your stuff works when the power goes out anyways
laptop, connected to router/modem that's on battery backup, and house phone.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonely Raven View Post
My cable (battery backup in router plus my own battery backup), my computers, TV, and surround sound (all on multiple backups).

Someday I'll figure out how to get an emergency backup generator...though I'm not sure we have enough power outages to need it yet. Though for the zombie invasion....
its not a zombie invasion, they would already be here... its an apocalypse

-Jason
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 10:14 PM
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A friend of mine works for a power company. I emailed him this article, and he said I could post his response to the link.
Quote:
I don't see Smart Grid technologies significantly reducing costs to consumers. While having demand side managment (what the smart meters will provide) will help with the summer peak demand, increasing emission regulations will continue to drive up the cost of generation. Eventually, those additional costs to coal or oil plants will help to make other technologies viable, the increased costs will still be there. Pretty much you are going to be able to see any potential savings now by being smart about energy use, and reducing your consumption.

Also, I don't really see the smart grid being installed in a wide area for some time, at least not until the economy recovers. Almost all the power companies are strapped for cash, and doing everything possible to reduce expenses. Add to that, the fact that new Federal and local regulations for phyisical and cyber security are requiring more people, equipment, and training, and there isn't a lot of money or manpower to put towards Smartgrid. I think I heard that someone high up mentioned that it would be at least 10 years for this stuff...

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-13-2009, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilotx1 View Post
its not a zombie invasion, they would already be here... its an apocalypse
Ahh, you are correct sir! I just need to learn how to spell apocalypse corretly and I'll use that from now on!

Quote:
Originally Posted by clearwaterms View Post
A friend of mine works for a power company. I emailed him this article, and he said I could post his response to the link.
Great info! Thanks for sharing with us!

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-15-2009, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clearwaterms View Post
The realistic answer is that data over power, may or may not be possible, but it would be a HUGE infrastructure undertaking and isn't likely to happen anytime in the near future.
Broadband over Power is actually being built out in some areas, and in some places it's being used as a sort of first step toward Smart Grid (with the obvious advantage of providing some nice revenue enhancement). The problems are that (a) nobody really wants to invest in broadband infrastructure right now, since it's not really the hot market it was ten years ago; and (b) it generates an enormous amount of radio interference and a lot of related headaches for the power company.

Smart Grid (which is, for the most part, a totally separate thing) is already rolling out in some places, a little at a time. (Look around sometime for power poles with little antennas on top of them; most are repeaters, our first local steps into Smart Grid.) It's not going to deliver huge or impressive results quickly, no, but it does provide more local results, like the ability to monitor and control the system remotely rather than having to send out switchmen every time. That cuts outage time.

Biggest problem right now, other than funding the thing, is defining it. We're dangerously close to letting people call any damn thing part of the "Smart Grid." We could get some joker painting the transformers purple and saying they're Smart, and it's a little hard to show it's not. But it's getting there.

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