Smart Grid Take-Down


William Tucker argues that current green Smart Grid is more fable than fact over at the Energy Collective. As he explains: 

The true "smart grid" will be a digitalized distribution system that conveys real-time information.  Incorporating remote wind and solar, on the other hand, will require an upgraded grid, something entirely different.  Our present 345-kilovolt, AC transmission wires can't do it without unacceptable line losses.  We will need to rebuild to 765 kV DC system – something that could take decades and easily cost several trillion dollars.

One has very little to do with the other.  However they are often described as the same thing. 

And what about those smart meters that aim to get people to wash their dishes and clothes at midnight when electricity is cheaper? 

Getting people to redistribute their energy consumption sounds suspiciously like those perennial suggestions for relieving rush-hour traffic by staggering work hours.  It may look good on paper, but most people still like to get up in the morning, eat breakfast, work 9-to-5, come home, have dinner, watch some TV and go to bed.  And so rush hour traffic – and patterns of electrical consumption – will probably remain much the same…

…the prospect that a smart grid is somehow going to save huge amounts of energy and pave the way for a solar future is an illusion.  At best it will make electricity a bit cheaper and perhaps shave 5 to 10 percent off the anticipated growth in consumption.  But the smartest of smart grids can't distribute power that isn't already there.

Read the whole insightful column here.