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The Smart Grid Development and Renewable Energy and Localization Considerations

Dr. Massoud Amin

As a national Smart Grid is constructed, it is important that developers include renewable energy and localization considerations to ensure that the Smart Grid operates as close to 100% efficiency as possible.

When it comes to renewable energy sources, wind and solar have become the primary foci. Over the past couple of years, renewables have been at the center of the energy debate. While renewables strive to eliminate the need for non-renewable resources, wind and solar energy are traditionally characterized by their intermittency of operation and their inability to dispatch.

Since the reliable operation of the power supply and delivery system requires a balance between instantaneous supply and demand, it will be critical for further developments to be made in how wind and solar power are stored. Once wind and solar energy can be reliably stored, those renewables will be able to offset the operational costs of the Smart Grid.

Similarly, as manufacturers and consumers become more energy conscious, plug-in hybrids and electric cars will become more and more popular. While the effects that these plug-in electric cars will have on the Smart Grid are undetermined at this point, it will be important for Smart Grid developers to take these load requirements into consideration as they construct the Smart Grid.

On a more local level, energy companies and electric power utilities have already begun upgrading their infrastructures to better monitor and manage energy usage. These 2-way communications allow the energy companies to regulate loads during peak usage to better optimize their delivery systems. This will not only allow energy providers unique insights into how commercial and residential customers consume electricity, but also allow those energy providers the ability to control power so as to minimize the risk of power outages.

90+% of the electricity generated in developed nations is consumed in residential, commercial, and industrial premises.  Energy efficiency and peak load reduction are required to reduce overall electricity consumption, to minimize use of expensive peaking plants, and to fully exploit renewable sources.  Automation and control systems in homes, buildings, and industrial plants are needed to minimize consumption and cost.

As development of the Smart Grid moves forward and the technology that utilizes renewable energy sources becomes more reliable, Smart Grid developers must integrate renewable energy sources with the infrastructure changes that local energy providers are already implementing.

Dr. Massoud Amin is the Director of the Technological Leadership Institute (TLI) at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. TLI offers Masters of Science programs in security technologies, management of technology and infrastructure systems engineering.

    17 comments to The Smart Grid Development and Renewable Energy and Localization Considerations

    • Great posts. THat’s very true that most of the electricity generated in developed nations is consumed in residential, commercial, and industrial premises.

      Fortunately more and more people are being aware of the current situation. Basically automation and control systems in homes, buildings, and factories are needed to minimize consumption and cost. THat’s a good sign in a sense, it could be that we are already on the right track..

    • This is great, but how about empowering home owners by supporting individual efforts to create alternative (green) power at the individual house owner level?

      Current tax breaks are not enough to stimulate the growth of either do it yourself or at least install it yourself alternative solar and wind power systems.

      Will Smart Grid include them?

    • It is true that renewable energy is very crucial in this decades. The world trend is getting more and more green, just a matter of time before old fashion way of generating energy will be obsolete. God bless earth.
      Solar energy, Lightweight Steel truss, Metal decking supplier, Green building roofs, Roof Purlins, Solar PV system Provider, Steel wall framings, sustainable energy roof solutions

    • Smart Grid Development and Considerations is an area we have focused our attention on with CFAR-m. We are very interested in establishing contact with academics or professionals in this area.

      Thank you in advance.


    • It’s wonderful to see this is gaining momentum in North America – I remember a few years back when the movie “Who Killed The Electric Car” came out and the population and governments as a whole seem much more willing to delve into alternative options now. It will be interesting also to see where the growth of solar and wind energy takes us.

    • It is good that different countries have taken different approaches. It would be interesting to see what smart grid developments there have been in Germany which by way of regulation has encouraged distributed electricity generation. The wealth of sources has to have an effect on the way they balance their grid.

    • Control systems and automation can reduce consumption, for example my solar system with automation reduce my consumption of electricity as second source of energy by 35%.

    • Technological Leadership Institute

      Thank you for your comments everyone!

    • It’s great to see the take up of solar and wind energy. Renewable energy is the way forward for all our sakes!

    • I agree with Romeo, more must be done to help the end user, such as tax breaks.Plus control systems will improve in the future and will aid the consumption of electricity. The good news is we’re moving in the right direction!

    • With the cost of electricity increasing rapidly surely we must have reached the point where renewable energy is a priority and not just an option pushed by the greens.

    • I’m so excited to see the world thinking differently, and moving towards solar power or other forms of sustainable energy! Let’s love our planet!

    • A very viable alternative I have found is to build your own solar panels. The cost of ready made units is still far to high for people to really consider it as an alternative.

    • With the rapid pace of electricity storage devices I am surprised that the electric car is still in its infancy. Does this mean that Multi-Nationals with vested interests are restraining the leap into electric powered vehicles?.

    • ferrets

      Great post and many interesting points in the comments as well. I hope as this develops we will see more affordable ways for homeowners to produce their own renewable energy.

    • Home Improvement

      Wind energy has been around for a long time and is not very good or efficient source of energy. Solar panels would be a good source of renewable energy if people could afford them.

    • phone4energy

      Couldn’t be agreed more..I always believe that green energy is the future of energy. Never have second doubt about it.

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