A Grid That’s Smarter than You

Frankly, I suspect the whole “clean energy” thing is a fad that will wind up costing much more money than it saves or than the benefits justify (catastrophically so as we dip into cap-and-trade-type policies). But whatever. There are so many ways that the government is wasting money and economic strength that it’s difficult to isolate just one about which to be outraged. But I’m still suspicious about unspoken intentions with “smart grids.” Consider:

A smarter grid, for example, might help hook wind farms in North Dakota with power consumers in Chicago and synchronize those consumers’ energy use to match the times when the wind blows strongest.

It would be helpful, certainly, to be able to set timers on appliances, and even to have a setting that will run them when power is least expensive, but the push could head in a different direction. If the grid and the people who run it are the ones “synchronizing” supply and use, it’s conceivable that you’d set your dishwasher to run at some point in the next 24 hours, and the government would choose the specifics. (What if you miss your slot? Well, that’s a bit too deep into speculation even for me.)
I’m not saying it’s worth getting hyped up about, but the issue meets phraseology in a way that’s worthy of attention moving forward.

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14 years ago

This is worth getting worked up about. The things you speculate about are the intention of the smart grid. The intent is to have remote control over our personal energy consumption. It is not crazy to consider this when this type of technology is already in use in some places such as military housing and public housing. The arguement for these places is that the landlord (the government) is paying the utility bill and therefore has the right to tell you that you must keep the temperature bewteen 62 and 68 degrees in the winter for example.
Now they want us to all participate in the smart grid to “do our part”. It has been proposed in California that allowing the utlity to remotely control consumers energy usage during peak demand would reduce that demand and result in fewer brown outs.
It is my opinion that the government and utilities have no business telling me how much energy I can use and certainly have no right to remotely control my usage in my private property. What is really scary is the fact the the government now owns up to 40% of the housing in this Country thanks to Freddie and Fannie.

14 years ago

Justin, Unfortunately the way “Smart Grid” is being presented by the news media is causing more questions and misinformation than answers. The so called remote control function of a “Smart Grid” in fact is a General Electric function and interface with their GE products. The remote control function has been here for many years with the BSR-X10 remoter control household system, Sears, Radio Shack, Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart has interfaces, Netgrear LAN products and even Microsoft utilizes the remote control function across the grid with their operating systems. Wide spread remote control has been around since the 1960s and its nothing new. The rush to be the first or create a first in nation foothold in so called green jobs and technologies industries is putting local state-wide power grids at risk because the local grids were not designed to accommodate fluctuating alternate power resources. When a state-wide local grid trips out to protect its self it puts stress on the regional grid system. The cascading grid shut down to protect its self caused the Great Northeast Black Out of 1965 which happened November 9, 1965 affecting Ontario, Canada and states; Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York, and New Jersey. Around 25 million people and 80,000 square miles were left without electricity for up to 12 hours. This was followed by the Northeast blackout of 2003 on August 14, 2003 which covered the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and Ontario, Canada affecting an estimated 10 million people in Ontario and 45 million people in eight U.S. states In reality, the electrical grid infrastructure for the United States of America is out dated and needs to be updated. We as individual users of the grid have been going to the well and increasing our drinking abilities without… Read more »

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