The objectives for any project are often forgotten as the individuals / organizations involved focus on their individual objectives, and understandably so. Often it is not clear what are the most important objectives, what objectives are in conflict with each other, and who has the incentive and job to oversight. The reasons behind the deployment of the smart grid are multifold, so it’s no surprise there is a lot of confusion around why smart grid. When objectives are in conflict with each, typically the results that are easiest to measure win out. In the case of smart meters, it’s how fast are they deployed and at what cost. I’m most familiar with the deployment in California, so let’s let’s look at how complicated this is. I assure you, looking at the objectives is a lot more complicated than the technology. (more…)
This is a pre-requisite to solar energy which is the next blog entry. It’s essential to first understand this topic, because the economic justification for residential solar energy panels in the US is all about peak power (and tax benefits). This is true about many alternative electrical power generation technologies. In addition, reducing our dependency on oil while reducing greenhouse gases requires technologies such as electric vehicles. The electric car is only half the equation; the other half is the power grid and this is much more complicated than electric vehicle technology. It’s about base power, peak power, tariffs, the political process, international efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, tradeoffs in being clean vs. being competitive, consumer behavior, etc. Technology itself can be complex, but technology is easy compared to the technology business. The power grid is an extremely complicated topic, and we will not delve into the intricate details here. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview (or a reminder) of the key points about the power grid that are essential to know in order to understand the role of alternative energy and electric vehicles.