Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Smart Grid" or "Strong Grid"?

Tom Adams recommended an article from Power magazine on a topic that's been around for some time - concentrating on making the U.S. electrical grid resilient.

Today Adams identifies a NY Times presentation of a video on the 2003 blackout, and lessons still being learned from the event; the PJM market is currently hosting a Grid 20/20: Focus on Resilience forum.
Resiliency is a hot topic.

"Smart Grid" or "Strong Grid"? Words Matter | POWER Magazine:
The Obama administration recently changed its nomenclature on a topic of much interest to readers of this publication and those in the power industry. The administration has said it prefers to talk about its policies advancing a “resilient grid” as opposed to its previous emphasis on developing a “smart grid.” The new policy thrust, for whatever it’s worth, is “grid hardening.”
To my mind, this is an entirely worthwhile and welcome development. I’ve long argued that the pursuit of a smart grid—an interactive system that allows utilities and (presumably) customers—to allow conversations between and among utility power providers and our homes is not a direction I want the industry to go. It raises security, privacy, and reliability concerns in my mind.
Without getting into the weeds on these issues, my preference has been for a “strong” grid that provides greater assurance that power flows without interruptions. I don’t care if my toaster can talk to my utility to find the least-cost (or more profitable) way to brown my bread. I care if I can’t toast my whole-wheat bread in the morning because the system is down.
All the interest in strong/resilient grids, with the avoidance of the term "smart", may be related to Executive Order -- Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change:
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to prepare the Nation for the impacts of climate change by undertaking actions to enhance climate preparedness and resilience...
Nobody likes blackouts, but it's worth noting many dispute that climate change is causing a non-apparent rise in weather events demanding increased grid resiliency.

Capacity, Smart Grids, and DSM shows leading U.S. "smart" grid states are those with the tightest capacity.  Will resiliency equate to more excess supply, and would that be cheaper than demand response programs anyway?


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