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Posts from December 0

The Smart Grid and Distributed Generation: A Glimpse of a Distant Future

By Kent Hawkins -- April 28, 2011

A smart grid/distributed generation combination could have a large role to play in the future of electricity systems in terms of both supply and use. But it is incorrectly being touted as the solution to our perceived electricity problems in the short term, that is for the next 10 to 20 years. Meaningful fulfillment of a “smart” grid and/or extensive Distributed Generation could be a half-century away, even more. Therefore, early, extensive, and expensive initiatives that claim to be on the “right track” are very likely to be on the wrong track later.

Is the right track (1) upgrading the grid capacity and implementing new transmission lines to facilitate the integration of utility-scale wind and solar or (2) the implementation of smart meters to match (read restrict) demand to the erratic and unreliable supply of these?…

Smart Grid Problems Revealed: The NERC Study

By Kent Hawkins -- August 4, 2010

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), an international regulatory authority whose purpose is to ensure reliability of the bulk power systems in North America, has just released a study on the Reliability Impacts of Climate Change Initiatives. It provides a comprehensive review of future reliability risks including smart grid initiatives. NERC appropriately looks at a number of future time frames, or horizons, which provide perspective in its analysis – 1-10 years, 10-20 years, and 20-plus years (up to 2050).

A review of the NERC study by Environment & Energy Publishing (E&E), reproduced as an appendix to this post, noted:

“A task force on climate change formed by North American Reliability Corp. urges that policy makers not count on large amounts of renewable energy, demand reduction from smart grid systems or new storage technologies before they prove they can be worked into the grid without endangering the system’s reliability.”

Smart Grid Passion–It’s On Your Dime (Part II)

By <a class="post-author" href="/about#robertmichaels">Robert Michaels</a> -- January 15, 2010

In Part I earlier this week, I asked critics for corrections to the surprisingly weak figures on avoided investment that smart grid advocates use to push their program. Having gotten none, let’s see where the figures take us.

First stop is the home page of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE). Its most prominent link is to their own The Smart Grid: An Introduction. Intended by its own admission for impressionable readers, it is plagued with misstatements, deceptive graphics, and unsourced assertions. Its official author is Eric Lightner, Director of the Federal Smart Grid Task Force. Lightner has not bothered responding to my requests for the sources of his footnote-free document, which was actually put together by a PR firm. Perhaps this is to be expected from a federal department that has a policy to push and must point us underlings toward official documents favoring the policy.…