What is Smart Grid

I had a delicious home-cooked meal at my good friend Jenny’s house in Lake Wiley SC– just south of Charlotte NC.

Adventure Sam, Jenny, and Jason

Adventure Sam, Jenny, and Jason

Lemon butter tilapia, red potatoes, and broccoli–$16 had we of been at Bonefish–but only cost me good times and interesting conversations at Jenny and Jason’s.

They just got a new puppy that they named Reagon (photographed above)–between a new house, a new puppy, and over a year since we had seen each other–there was lots to catch up on.

One conversation in particular that caught my attention is when Jason told me where he works–at Duke Power headquarters in Charlotte. He explained to me what Smart Grid is and how it will affect the future of powering our planet.

Smart Grid is fascinating and I’m going to briefly share the basics of what I’ve learned about this high-tech form of power consumption management. In addition I have discovered two videos from Duke Energy that explain the technology better than I will.

What is Smart Grid?

In a nutshell, Smart Grid technology allows your house to communicate BACK to the power plant in real time. This lets the power source adjust the amount of energy it produces at particular periods throughout the day as to not overproduce electricity that goes to waste.

In addition to communicating to your home, the power grid communicates to the individual switches and can reroute power instantly if a transformer were to blow. The result is, instead of an entire neighborhood (power grid) being knocked out–only a few homes around the blown switch would be affected.

In the future, the technology will communicate to your individual appliances for specific power control. It will also manage power from multiple sources seamlessly–like Duke Energy, solar panels on your roof, or from your car if you were to experience an outage. This would allow uninterrupted service.

From the horse’s mouth, here is a video explaining Smart Grid by Duke Energy.

This next video goes into the specifics of the self-healing qualities of a Smart Grid network.

For more videos like these–visit Smart Energy News Room.

Smart Grid technology makes me wonder:

1. Obviously Smart Grid is powered by software–who owns it now and who will own it in the future? Is it “open-source” meaning anyone can use it without paying a licensing fee?

2. Are other power companies creating competing smart technologies? Will the future of our power purchasing become similar to Verizon vs AT&T or Microsoft vs Apple?

3. Will Google own everything in 10 years?

*Google is announcing Google PowerMeter, which will ultimately become an open platform for home energy information.

4. Is technology replacing religions? I already look to Google several times a day to answer most of life’s questions.

5. How much technology actually exists that I’ve never heard of that will greatly affect our future?

6. How are young Jewish men supposed to choose a career path in today’s world with so many more choices than “doctor or lawyer”?

Calling all technology gurus…

If you have knowledge of Smart Grid or alternative power sources and would be willing to write a guest column for Adventure Paul–please contact me using the Comment form belo.

Bonus Video – Snap I’ve Got The Power

Yours truly,

Adventure Paul

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  • Cyrus

    I don’t know about a guest column but here’s a link to a Google Techtalk on the subject. It’s pretty long and dry but it begins to put a bit of scope on the whole endeavor. Got it from a colleague of mine who’s dissertation is indirectly related to smart grid technology.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB4-mBQPd7k

  • http://www.adventurepaul.com AdventurePaul

    Thank you Cyrus! I knew you’d have something up your sleeve to contribute. About 30 minutes into that video, my niece came downstairs and wanted to play–she won that debate so I will finish the other half tomorrow. I did not realize how much “computer” technology versus mechanical already goes into our power grids. Something else I learned that will occupy many hours of my future days is how many Tech Talk videos exist–it’s my new Discovery Channel. Thanks again.

  • Jamie the Hotness

    #6= :)

  • Cyrus

    Here’s something else that a friend just sent me. I haven’t personally gone through it yet but it looks pretty good:
    http://courses.engr.illinois.edu/ece333/notes/

    Here’s another link to a NCSU class with a ridiculous amount of information to do with energy:
    http://www.che.ncsu.edu/ILEET/CHE596web_Spr2010/index.html

  • http://www.adventurepaul.com AdventurePaul

    Thanks as always Cyrus. I wouldn’t even know where to look for stuff like that. Some of it makes me feel like Forrest Gump.

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