The USA and China are a few countries in the world developing a national electric grid. The new grids will help keep electric vehicles charged up. Read on to see how it will be done.
The present one-way, one-hundred-year-old power delivery grids are like one lane roads choked with occasional stop and go traffic. The goal of the smart grid is to upgrade the electric road to a two-way, no stop, electric freeway with digital controls.
National Electric Grid Goals
EVs - develop electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles communications with the power grid. Develop the ability to store or feed electricity back to the grid during periods of high demand.
There have been many comments suggesting EVs will "crash the grid". This is a blanket statement that is not likely to happen. PG&E for instance states they can handle a 10% EV fleet in Portland, Oregon, by 2020 with no problem.
Grid optimization - balance reliability, availability, efficiency, and cost.
Demand side management - enable utility customers to reduce electricity use during periods of peak demand and help utilities manage their power loads.
Advanced utility control - monitor essential components and enable rapid diagnosis
Energy storage - store electrical energy to meet demand when the need is greatest
Advanced metering - collect usage data providing energy providers and customers with this information via two-way communications
Home area networks - develop home networks that communicate between digital devices and major appliances
Renewable energy and distributed generation sources - support two-way energy transmission. Individual (non-utility) sources may feed power back into the smart grid from renewable sources like solar photovoltaic panels and wind generators.
Five Smart Grid Standards
- Integrated communications
- Sensing and measurement
- Advanced components
- Advanced control methods
- Improved interfaces and decision support.
The Smart Grid Roadmap
In the USA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created a Framework and Roadmap for Smart Grid Interoperability Standards. The roadmap sets out eight priorities for standards development that more or less includes the five standards above.
Demand response and consumer energy efficiency
Wide-area situational awareness
Advanced metering infrastructure
Distribution grid management
What is Next, Where is the Smart Grid?
NIST and other agencies and companies are at this time just beginning to set out standards for a national electric grid in the US.
It now appears that the Federal Energy Regulating Commission (FERC) will be taking a role as regulator of the standards process. The agency is currently "considering" the basic standards outlined above, with many more to come. Will this affect grid implementation? It is unlikely to speed it up in any case. Local utilities will carry the load in the meantime.
The national electric grid and other smart grid elements are under rapid development. The status and scope of U.S. government funded developments is at smartGrid.gov. Smart grid news is thoroughly covered at Smartgridnews.com.
The US Military has removed 40 of their their bases from the main power grids. The term is a military microgrid. The microgrid uses power generated close to the source, eliminating line losses and hostile power providers. Microgrids are also able to integrate alternative energy power sources like wind and sloar, removing total dependance on fossil fuel power generation. More on the way. How much? Estimates are 54.8 megawatts total by 2018.