A Free-Market Energy Blog


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.”