Figuring Out Smart Grid Makes My Brain Hurt! Is It Just Too Complicated?  

by Pool Builders on 11-26-2012 in Articles

Here we are in November 2012 still discussing smart grid as the next critical step in a safer, reliable and energy efficient future. The term €Smart Grid€ in itself is very impressive and offers the imagination a world of possibilities. Our daily interaction in the social network reveals there is a drive from younger to the more seasoned minds that put a face to the recently added term. As you move into friendly discussions or social feeds you find everyone has a different view of what the €Smart Grid€ structure looks like. It reminds me of the of the movie €Man of the House€ were several cheerleaders who witnessed the same murder all have a completely different view of what the murderer looked like. With everyone seeing something different is it perhaps just too complicated to figure out?

I have been to conferences, meetings, seminars and end user events were the concept and direction of Smart Grid technology do not align with one another. Let me explain. We have all seen the commercial were the washing machine knows just when to turn on and just how much water to add. On the other hand smart grid could mean adding a wireless reporting system back to the power provider from your home. This means no more manual or estimated meter readings. Pretty smart right? How about adding computers directly to the electrical grid that can instantaneously detect faults and switch uninterrupted power to your home or business? The applications are extensive and the list is very long. Is it really too complicated or is it just that we are putting too much accountability on one Phrase?

Due to the heat expected in midsummer you come up with a brilliant idea to have a swimming pool installed. You hire several independent laborers and tell them you want a swimming pool. You leave them knowing they are all hard workers and as a team can provide you a beautiful swimming pool. When you arrive home from vacation you find multiple half addressed holes and no swimming pole. Each contractor ran off with a different view on where the pool should be located, how it should be installed and who was in charge of the project. In a parallel to the current Smart Grid structure hard working entrepreneurs are out their developing new technology to fit spotty segments of a much larger network. The expectation of the smart grid is distorted with no clear footprint and lacks the structure needed to be successful.

In order to build a Smart Grid system that incorporates the user's expectations, we need to understand that Smart grid is everything we can imagine it to be. In order to put things in their proper perspective we need to understand that different ideas fall into different categories. This is where we begin to get mixed up and tangled within all the endless possibilities. The creative technology movement is important and offers the right mix of entrepreneurs needed to complete such a considerable project. However, with any project there needs to be direction, management, goals and clarification to what the end result should resemble. By first recognizing there is a problem and secondly addressing the need for a solution, an organized structure can begin to form.

So what's the answer? By rethinking the labels we have placed on Smart Grid. Understanding it is no more than just a high level name for a much larger grouping of subcategories, systems and components. Taking this into account is a major step in putting our arms around what Smart Grid is and providing direction on how to achieve a world class Smart Grid system. At the heart of the structure needs to be a central organization that manages the system subcategories and provides networking between companies working within the same category. It may take several companies with different products or services to form a complete smart solution. The system will help companies work together while at the same time addressing gaps in needed technolog.

Dan Swindell

SWH Online, LLC
Smarter Reliable Grid Solutions

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