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TR+July+2009+-+The+Big+Smart+Grid+Challenges

TR+July+2009+-+The+Big+Smart+Grid+Challenges - Technology...

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Friday, July 17, 2009 The Big Smart Grid Challenges Regulations, privacy and security concerns, and other issues could hold back developments. By Kevin Bullis A smarter electricity grid (http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/22997/) could fundamentally change the way people pay for and manage their electricity use. In theory, the technology could help reduce demand, save money, and improve reliability and efficiency. But implementing the necessary changes will be difficult, according to experts attending a symposium on the smart grid at GE Global Research (http://www.ge.com/research/) in Niskayuna, NY, this week. They expect resistance from regulators and consumers alike, citing the complexity of the proposed system as well as concerns about privacy and security. The smart grid will incorporate new networking technology, including sensors and controls that make it possible to monitor electricity use in real time and make automatic changes that reduce energy waste. Furthermore, grid operators should be able to instantly detect problems that could lead to cascading outages, like the ones that cut power to the northeastern United States in 2003. And the technology ought to allow energy companies to incorporate more intermittent, renewable sources of electricity (http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/21747/) , such as wind turbines, by keeping the grid stable in the face of minute-by-minute changes in output. For consumers, the smart grid could also mean radical changes in the way they pay for electricity. Instead of a flat rate, they could be charged much more at times of high demand, encouraging them to reduce their energy use during these periods. Companies such as GE are developing refrigerators, dryers, and other appliances that can automatically respond to signals from the utility, shutting off or reducing energy consumption to allow consumers to avoid paying the peak prices. Such strategies could
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  • Fall '10
  • Staff
  • Energy development, World energy resources and consumption, electrical grid, Peak oil, smart grid, Power outage

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