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What are the barriers to implementing a large scale smart-grid power network?

  1. Jul 3, 2012 #1
    What are the barriers to implementing a large scale "smart-grid" power network?

    I know that many renewable energies are only available at certain times of the day, or in certain areas. Therefore a "smart-grid" is important for storing and distributing the energy.

    I see the main issue to be storing large amounts of energy efficiently, such as saving up solar energy during the day to later use at night.

    Are there other major roadblocks?
     
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  3. Jul 3, 2012 #2

    es1

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    Re: What are the barriers to implementing a large scale "smart-grid" power network?

    Funding?
     
  4. Jul 5, 2012 #3
    Re: What are the barriers to implementing a large scale "smart-grid" power network?

    I don't think so. The benefit is huge, and the payoff would be huge. If it were likely to succeed, there are plenty of investors who would love to pour money into something like this.

    The question is whether a smart grid could succeed with current level technology.

    Are there not other significant issues?
     
  5. Jul 5, 2012 #4

    phinds

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    Re: What are the barriers to implementing a large scale "smart-grid" power network?

    Political gridlock, probably.
     
  6. Jul 6, 2012 #5
    Re: What are the barriers to implementing a large scale "smart-grid" power network?

    The EROI (Energy return on investment) is very small with renewable energy at its current state. Fossil fuels and coal have the upper hand as they produce A LOT of energy compared to what it takes to get it. Investors want the most leverage from their investments, so its going to be hard to find people to put their money into renewable technologies.

    http://energy.sigmaxi.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/eroi.jpg [Broken]
     
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  7. Jul 6, 2012 #6

    jim hardy

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    Re: What are the barriers to implementing a large scale "smart-grid" power network?

    i agree with that but i dont think that is what "smart grid" is doing.

    Instead it is creating an information network whereby all your appliances communicate with electric company( or somebody? ) through your electric meter. To that end they're making "smart" appliances, even smart wall receptacles. Current thinking is it'll allow electric company to control power system load by granting permission from central location for large devices to be switched on, or turning them off if need be.
    Another facet is to incentivize public to use less energy and shift that use to low cost times.

    Or looking at it another way, to make price of electricity like price of gasoline - it'll change minute by minute.
    So your electric meter has to know minute by minute how much to charge you..
    And it can tell your appliances when they have permission to run. Water heaters, air conditioners and electric vehicle chargers are large devices.
    Predictably some people are protesting that as "Big Brother Intrusion".

    Here's what Wikipedia says about it:
    and Appliance Magazine::

    http://www.appliancemagazine.com/news.php?article=1550714&zone=0&first=1
    http://www.appliancemagazine.com/news.php?article=1492014&zone=0&first=1
    ... all those jobs - sounds like somebody expects a lot of smart appliance manufacturing. Maybe that's why GE recently built some manufacturing plants here in US.
    http://www.appliancemagazine.com/editorial.php?article=2366"
    http://www.appliancemagazine.com/applianceline/editorial.php?article=2223&zone=205&first=1 [Broken]

    Myself i think it's a boondoggle .
     
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  8. Jul 7, 2012 #7

    jim hardy

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    Re: What are the barriers to implementing a large scale "smart-grid" power network?

    and "Dynamic Billing" is a culture shock to customers

    http://www.elp.com/index/display/article-display/5755345949/articles/electric-light-power/volume-89/issue-1/sections/the-smart-meter-opportunity-threat.html [Broken]
     
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  9. Jul 7, 2012 #8

    dlgoff

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    Re: What are the barriers to implementing a large scale "smart-grid" power network?

    I'd override the "smart" part of the appliance. If my air conditioner, for example, would shut off 20 or 30 minutes every hour in this 105°F weather, the utility wouldn't get much money from me; as I would be dead from heat stroke. Just sayin'.
     
  10. Jul 8, 2012 #9

    jim hardy

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    Re: What are the barriers to implementing a large scale "smart-grid" power network?

    Gonna be an interesting counterculture emerge here.

    Wife recently talked me into one of those newfangled washing machines with three phase computer driven motor and every automatic function conceivable. But i hung onto the old Sears with induction motor and mechanical timer for when the hightech gadgets give up the ghost.

    Induction motor for home appliances looks to be on its way out. Handymen better stash away a few for workshop fixtures .

    typical washing machine, courtesy of somebody on Photobucket:
    12.gif
    on this one you'd tie red to black or orange, whichever one you tied red to above,(1 to 7 or 3) depending on speed you want
    and brown to white (6 to 8) so it'll start
    then apply power from M to orange or black(what color is M? term 4 to 3 or 7) and you'd have a motor for that shop fan or grinder.

    While color and numbering is not same on all manufcturers, the circle in above drawing is typical arrangement of almost all washer motors. The terminals are on the centrifugal switch.
    IMG_0471.jpg

    so with an ohm-meter you can figure out what colors and terminal numbers they used.


    sorry for off-topic. old jim
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
  11. Mar 31, 2014 #10
    It is not as profitable as other methods current and those already receiving investing, hydraulic fracturing to name the new biggy. Investors are concerned with returns and will opt for the biggest ones. Only a complete change of attitude from the top in the importance of renewables will push it forward,but how likely is that?
     
  12. Apr 1, 2014 #11

    dlgoff

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    That may be hard. Think about how much energy one quadrillion BTU is. It's going to take a hell of a lot of wind generators. That the real issue IMO.

    history.png

    http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/
     
  13. Apr 1, 2014 #12

    FOIWATER

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    There are a lot of facets to smart grid. So many so its hard to define everything that it would encompass.

    One aspect of it is intelligent power production which Jim hinted towards. They use smart meters and based on historical record and estimated demand, they can dispatch the power system to meet the demand economically which can save a lot.

    This requires a lot more communication then is currently on the grid, which obviously brings about safety concerns.

    It has to have the ability to 'heal' itself post fault as well which means economically route power when a piece of the line is out for maintenance.

    As was said, to intelligently route power you need to know at any given time what is capable to deliver that power, and with renewable sources such as wind and solar, they are not entirely reliable. So there has to be knowledge by the control as to what is capable all the time.

    I think it's mainly an integration issue since the concept involves so much.

    It's hard to realize something that isn't yet so-well defined as well.
     
  14. Apr 1, 2014 #13

    jim hardy

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    To quote Zorba the Greek, there'll be some 'splendiferous crashes' .

    The power grid looks to the eye like just a static structure
    but in reality it is a huge dynamic system of interconnected rotating inertias, all running at or near synchronous speed, gently swaying and swinging like a giant "mobile" you might hang from your ceiling. Angular displacement of voltage between ends of a transmission line moving electrical power is exactly analogous to angular displacement between ends of a shaft in torsion transmitting mechanical power.
    The regions in the grid move energy between one another and obey the laws of harmonic motion, just like the individual pieces of your mobile do. When one part gets too far ahead or behind another they separate and you get these huge regional blackouts that cover several states.

    Now my cynicism is showing - but my experience with Windows has me abjectly terrified about what will happen to the grid when computer industry moves in on it.
    I call Bill Gates "Prince of Mediocrity".
    He'll become "Prince of Darkness" too.

    old jim
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  15. Apr 1, 2014 #14

    phinds

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    The technical challenges may be formidable, but we put a man on the moon so I am confident they can be solved. I do share concern over the vulnerability of the system given that it will probably be built without really solid safeguards against cyber attacks.

    Why ? Well, for the same reason that the whole thing (a smart grid based on renewables) isn't going to get built any time soon anyway, which is that the important challenges are not technical, they are political and financial and both will likely lead to expediency if/when the problem ever IS taken on, with cost considerations outweighing safety considerations.

    That is one of the downsides of the nature of our capitalistic society.
     
  16. Apr 1, 2014 #15

    sophiecentaur

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    'We' only put a man on the Moon as a substitute for bombing the Soviets and it was a military exercise, basically. Funding is always available for that sort of caper.

    Other sources of funding come about when there is a large market for new stuff - Apple managed to convince us all that we need iPhone, iPad, iMac and iTunes. They got their funding - from us.

    I think things will have to get a lot worse before the public can be persuaded to put their taxes into a proper, integrated Smart Energy system. The present (hopefully temporary) potential energy shortage will be sorted out with a good old fashioned solution - Fracking.

    Climate deniers are still very influential. Nigel Lawson is still very loud in the expression of his non-scientific views because he grew up with economics and politics - both of which can be post hoc evaluated in any direction you may choose. The present hoohaa about the Post office privatisation is a great example.

    Evidence based policy is still a million miles away from Westminster.
     
  17. Apr 1, 2014 #16

    phinds

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    And from Washington as well. So far away that I despair of it EVER getting there. It seems antithetical to the nature of politicians to face reality and complexity.
     
  18. Apr 1, 2014 #17

    AlephZero

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    And you still need enough non-renewable generator capacity to handle the times when you have the wrong sort of wind (either too little or too much).

    But I think the biggest problems are political not technical. There's a nice example where I live. There are two large adjacent sites, one used as a water treatment plant, the other a landfill site for the city garbage disposal. There was a plan to build an incinerator and power generation on the garbage disposal site, which would have produced a significant amount of power (estimated to supply about 18,000 homes) 24/7, as well as reduce the amount of landfill. But some local residents group managed to kill that, on the grounds of noise, pollution, or whatever, despite the fact that there is already plenty of noise and pollution on the site, and in any case there are no houses within at least a mile of it in any direction.

    So Plan B was to built two large (130m towers) wind turbines instead, which are supposed to provide intermittent power to about 3,000 homes rather than continuous power to 18,000.

    The turbines were installed at the end of last year. I drive past them most days, so it's easy to see when they are running. In the first 3 months of this year, they number of days they have been working is .... TWO. But hey, my general taxation is being used to subsidize their installation, so I guess that makes me greener than I was before.
     
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