Obama’s SmartGrid plans

Image: Department of Energy

Via Slashdot:

“On Monday, the Obama administration announced the next steps that the US will take to build its 21st century electric grid, and Information Technology is expected to play a big part in the plans. The White House hosted a 90-minute media event called ‘Building the 21st Century Electric Grid’ and is releasing a new report on what it will take for lawmakers and the private sector to come together to solve this aspect of the energy challenge.”

Here’s more from the official White House statement:

“Along with the announcement of new public and private initiatives aimed at building a smarter, expanded grid and empowering consumers, the Cabinet-level National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) will release a new report: ‘A Policy Framework for the 21st Century Grid.’ This policy framework charts a collaborative path forward for applying digital information or ’smart grid’ technologies to the nation’s electricity infrastructure to facilitate the integration of renewable sources of power into the grid; help accommodate the growing number of electric vehicles; help avoid blackouts and restore power quicker when outages occur; and reduce the need for new power plants.”

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148 thoughts on “Obama’s SmartGrid plans

  1. Oh goodie. More two-way wireless connections to control and monitor the grid! And at the same time, NASA is telling us we need to make the grid LESS vulnerable to EMP from the sun, and Leon Panetta is telling us we need to make the grid LESS vulnerable to international hackers.

    The way to make the grid LESS vulnerable is to get rid of all computerized controls and decentralize, not to add more wireless control points and centralize.

    But we won’t decentralize, because the present arrangement makes it possible to securitize electric power. Enron and all that. If we went back to the old arrangement with each city running its own power plant, there would be no way for Wall Street to manipulate the system. Profits would remain in each city, and Wall Street would be unable to, ahem, short the circuit.

  2. “…and reduce the need for new power plants.”

    Does this signify the official death of the Green Dream where no additional power generation is required, we can get along just fine with economizing and efficiency improvements? Or is this more of the Green Theme where the “new power plants” are only “Renewable!” replacements that merely displace existing fossil fuel (and nuclear?) generation without the unnecessary(!) addition of more capacity?

  3. Sounds like Obama and the dems have found a solid industry from which to build their more base…thousands upon thousands of newly created union jobs which will be both government and private–but still union–in order to build this new fangled grid, to allow people to buy electric cars at everyone else’s expense, and—-this is the best of all—-they are going to reduce our need for more power plants………how?………Obama is going to change physics, because he stopped the oceans from rising, and we will all then be able to get two watts where only one exists!!!!!!

  4. I always feel that when they say a process will ‘empower the consumer’ what they really mean is that it will allow them to control the consumer. It usually ends up with the consumer having less power, not more.

    Aaaah buzzwords, don’t you just love them?

  5. There’s absolutely no way Obama is going to survive this next election, were he to spend even TWO billion dollars trying to hornswoggle people to vote for him again. We’ve all had about as much “hopey/changey” con-artistry as we can take. The American public will not be so easily duped next time around. What he’s offering we don’t want.

  6. and reduce the need for new power plants.”

    What about power plants that are we already have, and need? Taking power plants offline that the nation needs, and which is the cheapest. Even higher energy prices are in the near future.

    “Each generator will have to decide for itself whether the investment required to meet environmental requirements can be justified based on its projection of market prices and the cost of its capital. In any case, those costs will be passed through to consumers,” said Mark Pruitt, director of the Illinois Power Agency, which procures electricity for Illinois.
    ….
    The Illinois Power Agency estimates that by 2017 the energy portion of bills could jump 65 percent from today’s rates.

    More than 8,000 megawatts of coal-fired generation capacity has been retired in the U.S. since 2005, according to data from industrial software company Ventyx. Generators have announced they plan to retire another 21,000 megawatts in the near future, and some industry consultant studies estimate 60,000 megawatts of power, enough for 60 million homes, will be taken offline by 2017.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-0612-rates-20110611,0,2195993,full.story

  7. See Germany – the Green Dream is dead. They recently announced a knee jerk reaction to Japan and vowed to close all of their nuclear plants early; but guess what will replace them? Nat Gas and Coal, that’s all they’ve got that can work. Even with all of their work on solar, they know they don’t dare rely on it. Back to Fossil Fuels. Wait, what about Global Warming? Oh never mind.

    Germany gives us the template for how the Green Dream will die – Germany is claiming all of these fossil fuel plants will only be a “bridge” until renewable power is ready. What they don’t say is that it will be decades, if ever, til the time that will happen.

    Now do I think new, better, energy providing techniques will come along? Of course! Technology marches on, and I’m sure that by 2050 or 2060, there will be all kinds of awesome that we can’t even imagine. THAT’S WHAT SUPPORTERS OF FOSSIL FUELS HAVE ALWAYS SAID!!! Use Fossil fuels NOW, and use them as a bridge to the future. Of course, that bridge is going to take 40 or 50 years to cross.

    The reason we always took that position is that it’s the only logical course of action based on a rational assessment of our situation. It’s rather comforting to see that even some of the Greens biggest German supporters are getting beaten into that position by reality.

  8. SmartGrid aim’s to reduce peak demand loads causing stress on power infrastructure. Electrical utility providers must design for demand, not consumption. Designing for peak demand is costly and wasteful.

    Think of it like our roads. They work fine 90% of the time but during peak hour they do not cope well. The same is true with electricity. During peak electrical use periods (lunch time, dinner time) the electrical grid suffers huge stress. Add to the problem an ageing electrical grid.

    A SmartGrid is a much more cost effective way to manage electrical use. The alternative is a massive replace/upgrade of all electrical infrastructure which will hit the pocket much harder.

    Please learn the difference between electrical demand and electrical consumption. Get educated guys.

  9. “Along with the announcement of new public and private initiatives aimed at building a smarter, expanded grid and empowering consumers ….”
    I got as far as “empowering consumers” when the taurocoprolitic alarm sounded. This phrase is the NewSpeak code for “controlling the serfs”. When it is hot the Super Grid will shut off your air conditioning; when it is cold, off goes your heating.
    The Super Grid decides who gets the electricity, it will be those who have got the power.

  10. Dylan

    Is that smart grid anything like the smart meters that have been inflicted upon consumers, so that the ruling elite can turn off any section of “consumers” when it suits them. Visions of big brother deciding which group of voters of least consequence can do without power?
    Its hard to electrically demand anything when your power is remotely shut off, that seems to effectively deal with consumption – the devil is in the detail, or is this another scheme that one is not allowed to examine that detail until it becomes law!!

  11. “…future generations”.

    Ain’t gonna be no “future generations”.
    That’s the point. rubbing two sticks and stuff.
    Oh. Wait. did they have fire in the stone age?

  12. President Obama. He speak with forked tongue.
    Sign up to the smart grid concept with smart metering and you will be the first to have your power switched off in a rolling blackout, because they don’t want to pay for standby capacity for when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

  13. Dylan says:
    June 14, 2011 at 4:47 am

    I browsed through the document, and on the surface it looks OK. As a consumer, I would especially be interested in technologies which permit me to monitor and control my own energy usage, so as to reduce my utility costs.

    However, it seems to me that permitting monitoring and control of electricity through digital means would make it ripe for hacking. We can’t even secure our government computers and data – what would prevent an enemy from writing a “virus” which would trigger massive power failures nationwide?

  14. Its the line at the top of the poster/flyer/picture that tickles me.. “The Smart Grid Can Deliver”
    Who, exactly, are they trying to convince.. us or themselves? Something about it doesn’t ring true.

    Dylan above makes some valid points but, what the Smart Grid is doing is removing redundancy – its taking the grid the same way as everything else has gone. Everything now is delivered on a ‘Just in Time’ basis. All well and good but it makes for a very fragile supply chain where upon one broken link instantly brings the entire thing crashing down. A good recent example was when (here in the UK), the petrol tanker drivers went on strike. Within 3 days the country had just about stopped. No-one, nowhere kept any reserve capacity.

    Consider going for an airplane ride. Airplanes are riddled with ‘redundancy’, if one system fails another takes over. How would anyone feel if the aircraft only had one system, would you fly in it? The Shuttle has/had, as far as I know, 5 levels of redundancy in its Fly-by-Wire systems.
    Similarly, the cars that we (most of us) drive, Why do we insist on/buy cars with 100HP+ engines when 20HP would get us to the legal speed limit? Is ‘safety’ not the usual response when asked to justify ourselves?
    Is ‘The Smart Grid not removing that ‘safety factor’?

  15. Translation of White House statement:
    This initiative lays the groundwork to transition modern western countries into backward third world economies. The NSTC will release a new report filled with double speak, non-specific goals, and unverifiable objectives in a high level technical format only the authors can understand. Control of the population will be achieved through a digital system based on the digital concept of an on-off switch. Cooperative people will find themselves in the ‘on’ position while uncooperative trouble makers will be in the ‘off’ position.

  16. @ Dylan
    “A SmartGrid is a much more cost effective way to manage electrical use. The alternative is a massive replace/upgrade of all electrical infrastructure which will hit the pocket much harder.”

    1) The SmartGrid IS a massive replace/upgrade of all electrical infrastructure
    2) The SmartGrid WILL hit the pocket much harder

  17. The upshot of the smart grid is micromanagement of the end user, with attendant and profound implications.

    Ordinary consumers have already discovered that with the new “smart meter” system, the day after one’s bill is due and hasn’t yet been paid, the 10- day cutoff notice arrives in email. (Don’t ask me how I know this.)
    There are those who will immediately say “well, pay your bill on time”, but what an irritating affront.
    Not having tested the Utility’s resolve, I’m sure the 10th day would witness remote termination of services.

    As for efficiency, “smart grid” away, but the grid will only be third- world reliable with no power input.

  18. There is a good reason why even the most remote ranch here has an old windmill about to fall down somewhere on the homestead. As soon as reliable power came on board, that old windmill was shut down for good. At the same time, productivity soared.

    But back to the old days. If you want a good education, it will be after you get home from indoctrination. Meaning, you will be reading by candle light. Nobama 2012.

  19. Ah, the SmartGrid/ GreenPower never-never land; government overreach and idiocy at its finest. People and businesses need energy when they need it. Postponing an activity until off-peak hours is usually either not an option, or can even have its own set of negative consequences.

  20. Well they’ve already gotten control of the kids….
    With smart meters and GPS, so they can tax you by the miles you drive ( and keep up with you)…..
    Is there anything Obama can’t do?

  21. KenB says:
    June 14, 2011 at 5:07 am

    Dylan

    Is that smart grid anything like the smart meters that have been inflicted upon consumers, so that the ruling elite can turn off any section of “consumers” when it suits them.
    ===============================================================================
    Sorry, not Dylan, but It is a large part of it. The meters are now viewed as a gateway communication device. Much of the intrusive nature of “smart grid” is done through the meters. Though, I don’t have much problem with the disconnection capabilities. In the past, for individuals, one would just go and pull the meter, or for rolling black outs, just through a switch higher up in the grid.

    The disconnecting, it the least of your problems. I’ve stated this before, but I’ll keep stating this until people get what I’m saying. Prior to “smart grid” our meters were largely built like clocks. There was no circuit boards in them. In the U.S., they cost a grand total of about $20, their life expectancy, (reading at 97% accuracy) was about 20 years. This is for a form 2S class 200 240V meter(that’s meter geek speak for a typical residential meter. Today, there is no U.S. provider that makes them anymore. Now, we have these solid state meters. The total cost usually runs about $200 and is supposed to last for about 10 years. Their life expectancy or rather failure presents in an entirely different manner……they don’t slow down like the old ones did. Of course the new meters can and do offer new information with which we can bill people. TOU, peak demand, demand(we’ve had demand meters, but they weren’t typical of residential meters) and other inventive ways of bilking the consumer. Of course, it does no good to have meters with new capabilities if one doesn’t utilize them, so, we have to purchase communication devices……these vary, but usually come at an ungodly price. Ours ran about $1/2 million per data collector(easier to think as metering point of sub station, though this varies via the different vendors.) Then, obviously, if we have the comm, and meters, we need something to do with it, so you’ve got to buy software…..lots of it. In a little 3500 meter coop, we’ve got literally hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up in proprietary software. And like the infomercial on TV, but wait!!!! There’s more!! In spite of have all the goody software, we still have so much more information, we need to do something with it! And we need people that are qualified to handle it. So, with all that money we saved, (from laying of meter readers) We’ll have to hire an operator for the software, a DBA to handle the inundation of information. Probably a net admin or additional help for the net admin if we already had one, and if we’re big enough, probably a programmer to write cool apps that weren’t included in the 6 figure software.

    Now, consider the technology cycle we’re on. We’ve gone from something that was stable, useful and cheap. The technology advanced very slowly, because there wasn’t a perceived need. Today, I’ve got equipment for signal-over-power-line applications purchased 5 years ago that is termed “legacy products”.(Circuit boards that cost 2-5 thousand dollars and the replacement will cost about double….surprise, new features). This will not end. This will continue for time eternal.(Think Moore’s law and how it doesn’t just apply to processors) We will forever be compelled to stay with current technology. Continuous expensive investment will be required. And here’s the fun part. All of the cost will be passed on to the consumer.

    I’ve asked several decision makers the same question. “When to we expect the pay-back point to be?” They all give me a familiar stare for a moment, and then state there isn’t one. And there is not. We will never make up the cost. No one will.

    I’m sick of the term “smart-grid”. There’s nothing smart about investing $Trillions of dollars for no net gain. In fact, other than coming up with inventive ways to bilk consumers, can anyone give me an example of how a smart grid application’s benefits exceed the cost? Any smart grid application…….

  22. I thought that all of America’s power generation, distribution and billing was in the hands of private sector players. That being the case surely this smart grid concept only needs to stand the competition test. If it’s a good idea and makes money they will do it if they aren’t already.

    I have some good friends who are electrical engineers working in large scale generation and distribution. They all seem like sensible chaps who don’t gamble with “iffy” stuff. Conservative if you will. If they are pushing this then it will do OK, if they are being pushed it will fail. It takes a long time and a lot of concentration to keep a grid up and innovation is treated with suspicion, particularly if it has a potential negative impact on the grid.


  23. Dylan says:
    June 14, 2011 at 4:47 am
    SmartGrid aim’s to reduce peak demand loads causing stress on power infrastructure. Electrical utility providers must design for demand, not consumption. Designing for peak demand is costly and wasteful.

    I don’t think people have really looked at this statement in detail. This is scary, just pretending that a system should not be able to cope with the worst case scenario to any system.

    The point of making a good stable system is making sure it can handle the highs as well as the lows as efficienctly as possible. By saying that we no longer care about peak demand just says that the electrical system will be “dumbed down” so to speak and not engineered to actually work like it should. Why have a power grid in this case? Same with a transportation system. If the system does not work at its peak, what is the point exactly?

    This is the unanswered question:
    namely, why in the world should people accept a costly new infrastructure “improvement” that not only costs us more but works worse then what we have?

    Politics at its best…tell people they are getting a real good deal and really just pull the rug out from under them.

  24. Dylan says:
    June 14, 2011 at 4:47 am

    A SmartGrid is a much more cost effective way to manage electrical use. The alternative is a massive replace/upgrade of all electrical infrastructure which will hit the pocket much harder.

    Please learn the difference between electrical demand and electrical consumption. Get educated guys.
    ====================================================================

    Dylan, I don’t like piling on a comment that was likely made off the cuff and w/o thought.
    Please demonstrate the one area in “smart grid” technology that is “cost effective”. Any part. The fact is, smart grid as about avoiding cost effective measures…..that would be called building new power generation plants. Yes we build for peak, and we’re never going to get away from that until we find a way to store AC electricity……. be sure to hold your breath on that.

    Dylan, energy use = economic activity. Curbing the demand= limiting people’s activity and choice. That would be something I’d expect from Cuba or China. Not a nation created from the principles of Liberty.

  25. Smart grids are potentially a good idea (pardon the pun) but the devil is in the detail. How much is it going to cost, and what are the potential savings?

    A “Policy Framework” is useless bureaucrat-speak without some idea of the numbers involved.

  26. The only growing number of electrical vehicles, are those subsidized by tax dollars that the government is attempting to force on US citizens through contrived high gas prices and schemes like cash for clunkers which involved cars that were anything but clunkers resulting in the increase in price of used cars.

    This is something Stalin would embrace. Instead of the people having the ability to purchase reasonably inexpensive and reliable power and the cars they want, the people will be faced with expensive, unreliable power that can be rationed with the throw of a switch by a computer program and cars they don’t want and can’t use when they wantt.

  27. So I wonder if the “smart grid” detects that you’re using incandescent bulbs after 2012, will it report you to the light bulb police??

  28. @Dylan: Yes, it’s important to get educated on these issues.

    Ask yourself this question: who really benefits from “smart grid” technology? Do consumers benefit? If so, how?

    No, “smart grid” technology is being pushed by the utilities so that they can charge you more for the power you use. With this technology, they can and WILL charge you for the cost of electricity from when you use it. Currently, utilities don’t have a way of segregating electricity costs by time of day used. They average the costs over time. Once the “smart meters” are in place, consumers will be charged based upon the cost for the energy when it was used. If consumers use energy when they need it, and that happens to be a time when a whole bunch of other people need energy, the cost per MW will be much higher. Consumers will pay more for power. That’s why the utilities are so eager to push this technology and take on the costs of outfitting homes with these devices. They know it will increase their bottom line. Consumers? Not so much.

    The real answer is building additional electrical power capacity. Inexpensive energy is the driver of economies.
    Bruce

  29. give him a chance, how many people were against the new deal? this could be a lifeline, and cut dependence on non-renewable sources of energy

  30. This guy needs to read “Normal Accidents”. Any complex technological system is bound to fail in a catastrophic fashion with probability 1 given enough time. I want off the grid all together.

  31. Who’s paying for this?
    The nation is sucked dry of money, for the very few have the lions share of the dough, and they aren’t sharing.

  32. I do not want my power supply system designed by a bunch of government bureaucrats…. especially far left-wing ones at that!

  33. Has anyone calculated the increased electric power/energy requirement if, say, 25% of all cars in the US were battery operated?.

    Dylan says:
    June 14, 2011 at 4:47 am
    Please learn the difference between electrical demand and electrical consumption. Get educated guys.

    Unless Dyl is talking about the difference between power and energy, the only difference between demand and consumption would be the inability of suppliers to meet demand. This implies rationing or brownouts.

  34. Great news! About damned time, Mr President. American infrastructure is aged, crumbling and vulnerable, especially the electric grid. I’s time to invest in the USofA first. A wholesale upgrade to our neglected electric grid is way, way past due and is an ultra-important step toward energy independence.

  35. Well, it’s actually a pretty good idea. But implementing it is going to require engineering and management skills that might or might not exist. And even then, there are going to be screw-ups.

    None the less, if the “conservatives” plan to leave some hydrocarbons for their great grandkids to burn and if fusion, solar or some other power generation technology doesn’t eventually come through in a big way, we are going to need to manage our electrical usage a lot better than we are currently doing.

    But how about we, for a change, ramp up smart grid technology slowly and methodically and try to avoid legislating bad ideas into place before the concepts have been time test and refined into useful, usable technologies?

  36. Dylan says:
    June 14, 2011 at 4:47 am

    SmartGrid aim’s to reduce peak demand loads causing stress on power infrastructure.

    Do you mean wasteful practices like washing when the wind isn’t blowing or running the AC when it’s uncomfortably hot or turning on the heat when it’s bitter cold or cooking meals when you are hungry instead of when the ‘grid’ tells you to?

    Off peak spring demand in California is 20GW and peak is 30GW.
    That changes to 20GW and 50GW in the summer.
    Sorry, the only way the ‘smart grid’ is going to significantly impact Californian ‘peak demand’ is by disabling air conditioners.

  37. More succinctly. I’m tired of half-baked whether it be anti-lock braking systems that add complexity, but don’t actually work very well, power distribution technologies, or the #$#)$@) Internet where the seven zillion “standards” are considered to be advisory at best.

  38. I really hope that while the grid is being re-engineered, that an effort is made to make it resilient to EMP and CME as well.

  39. I will remind all readers that a so-called “smart grid” is much, much more vulnerable to nuclear electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) damage than the older more reliable analog meters: The old meters – having no microcircuits or chips to get damaged – continue working (delivering electricity through the meter to the service in the house or industry) after EMP events. (The grid is not so much threatened by EMP as the computers and electronics fed by the grid.)

    A “Smart” meter? Well, are they hardened against damage (like a MILSPEC battlefield device) from a solar energy pulses or nearby lightening hits or a high-altitude nuclear blast? We now face the almost certainity of nuclear-armed enemies now – enemies (unlike the Soviets and Chinese) who are simply determined and who actually look forward to using nuclear weapons over their enemies.

  40. Unemployment continues to creep up, inflation too. Housing foreclosures continue. Small retail business slowly closing……. And the money for the new grid will come from where?

  41. As Polistra mentioned earlier, the power grid needs to be made LESS sensitive to EMPs. Back in the days of telegraphs there was a giant pulse from the sun that did a lot of damage even though there were no electronics to speak of back then. It is stupid to build this hideously expensive system that you KNOW is going to be taken out all in one shot somewhere in the not too distant future. I say build more coal and gas fired plants and replace/upgrade the worn infrastructure we currently have and make it more EMP resistant, not less. Let’s make energy cheap, plentiful and reliable for all and get this country moving forward again.

  42. Well I’m no Spaghetti ‘O’ fan and after watching the Repub debate last night I saw that money cannot buy smartness. Romney answering the question from the 25 year military man with three sons doing a hitch. Romney: “I will pull out of Afghanistan when my generals say the TALIBAN military are ready to take over.” WAFI!

    I was a bit impressed with the young man from PA.

  43. Gnstr says:
    June 14, 2011 at 6:56 am

    give him a chance, how many people were against the new deal? this could be a lifeline, and cut dependence on non-renewable sources of energy
    ====================================================================

    Uhmm, no, it can’t. It just moves things around at a very high cost. The costs and efficiency of wind and solar generation has been explored enough to know they will not. Ask a Brit or a Texan about this winter…..or a Spaniard about how it worked out when a nation totally embraces the technology. It didn’t. Hybrids? ….not yet. Time Of Use billing is deplorable. The fact is, by the very nature of wind and solar, it demands dependence upon natural gas. More to the pity, if we hadn’t embraced the wirlygigs and pinwheels (and sun absorbers) as much as we have, then nat gas would be more plentiful and cheaper than it is today.

    You see, because we can’t mandate the wind to blow or the sun to shine, we have to back that energy up with……..natural gas. (I suppose oil would do to, but we don’t use much of that in the U.S…for energy generation) And when I say back up, I mean back up to the base load and peak production at the same time. One can’t use coal or nuclear because of the nature of the fuels….you can’t just turn them off or on at a whim. In energy generation, natural gas is best used as a supplement to the base generation of Nuke or coal for peak periods.

  44. Gnstr says:
    June 14, 2011 at 6:56 am

    give him a chance, how many people were against the new deal? this could be a lifeline, and cut dependence on non-renewable sources of energy
    This has nothing to do with giving Obama a chance. This is about an extremely bad idea just from an economic standpoint, and one which will ultimately hurt, not help people. No, it will not be a “lifeline”, but a lead weight driving energy costs sky-high, with enormous possibilities for abuse and/or failure of the system. The reality is that we are “dependent”, for now, and for the forseeable future on fossil fuels. They are the backbone of a vibrant, healthy economy, which Greenies, for some reason or another seem to want to destroy.

  45. A lot of the people pushing plug-in cars are dangerously clueless about what that implies with respect to the electric grid. Since they can command money to appear out of thin air maybe they think they can command energy to appear out of thin air as well.

    Our electric grid has a scope and capacity that is shaped by present usage. The key factor here is that it is sufficient to handle the twin peaks of the year: in the cold, WIND-FREE chill of January mornings when heating needs are at a maximum, and in the peak of the summer, when a week of cloudless and WIND-FREE sizzling afternoons drive air conditioning usage to a peak.

    The truth is that recharging the batteries of a plug-in electric car will draw as much current from the local utility as the car owner’s central heat or central air conditioner will. With present capacity, the local electric system will be swamped and overwhelmed if too many people in one area attempt to run their air conditioner and recharge their car at the same time. There are only two ways to address this. One is to upgrade the entire residential electric grid and build new power plants. The other is to force recharging of vehicles into times of the day when there is sufficient capacity.

    This implies that it is only a matter of time before the utility will require the car charger in the home to be able to negotiate with the utility how much current it can draw at any one time. This helps the utility protect its infrastructure as well as to run its mix of generation as economically as possible. A homeowner must be able to control his energy priorities. For example, faced with limited power, does the homeowner want to run his air conditioner, hot water heater, kitchen oven or charge his car? Secondarily, when you plug your car in, do you want to charge it as fully as possible at the lowest rate, or would you want it fully charged no matter what the cost? The Smart-Grid takes this a few steps further. And I would observe, it also brings surveillance and control of our private activities and few steps further as well.

  46. harrywr2 says:
    June 14, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Dylan says:
    June 14, 2011 at 4:47 am

    Sorry, the only way the ‘smart grid’ is going to significantly impact Californian ‘peak demand’ is by disabling air conditioners.
    =========================================================================
    And, that’s what we’re here for. This doesn’t state that they’re using this with ACs, but it won’t be a problem.

    http://pressroom.geconsumerproducts.com/pr/ge/ge-first-to-use-zigbee-protocols-187066.aspx

    Ain’t that grand? If we keep this up, smart grid technologists, such as I, will be able to tell when you’ve taken a hot bath! Or, better yet, when you can and when you can’t. Here’s a shout out to all of the totalitarian misanthropist Big Brother wannabees!!! I couldn’t have got there without you!!!

  47. Smart grid is code for rationing. Nothing more. They found a way to make it acceptable for greens to have controlled brownouts. The mix of monopoly and smartmeter puts the consumer at the end of a gunbarrel for their own needs. Of course some may say that that is the intent.

  48. “Gnstr says:
    June 14, 2011 at 6:56 am

    give him a chance, how many people were against the new deal? this could be a lifeline, and cut dependence on non-renewable sources of energy”

    So we can become dependent on renewable sources? Which do you think are the more reliable: wind, solar, gas, nuclear? The only thing you can rely on with current ‘renewables’ is that they can’t be relied on to provide consistent supply.

    Less a lifeline and more like lead weights attached to the collective feet. I think you should give *us a chance, not the self-serving, scientifically ignorant politicians and rent-seeking renewable moguls.

  49. rbateman says:
    June 14, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Who’s paying for this?
    The nation is sucked dry of money, for the very few have the lions share of the dough, and they aren’t sharing.
    ============================================================
    Well, the consumer is. For cooperatives, its easy, buy the stuff and past the cost on. We don’t really need state approval or anything. Of course, the capital used is borrowed from sources such as RUS…..(thanks tax-payers!!! There is no such thing as too much debt!!!) There are some municipalities adopting , but its slow. IOUs (Investor owned utilities) would typically have to run this by some state agency before they can gouge the consumer. That’s not really hard to achieve, either.

    To make the game ever more fun, we don’t necessarily raise rates, but rather add a new inventive form of gouging. So, we can still brag we haven’t raised rates in x years, but we’ve sure managed to increase the amount in the check you write us every month.

    Wealth redistribution…..its not just for tax schemes any more!

  50. “The phrase ‘our new, happy life’ recurred several times. It had been a favourite of late with the Ministry of Plenty. Parsons, his attention caught by the trumpet call, sat listening with a sort of gaping solemnity, a sort of edified boredom. He could not follow the figures, but he was aware that they were in some way a cause for satisfaction. He had lugged out a huge and filthy pipe which was already half full of charred tobacco. With the tobacco ration at 100 grammes a week it was seldom possible to fill a pipe to the top. Winston was smoking a Victory Cigarette which he held carefully horizontal. The new ration did not start till tomorrow and he had only four cigarettes left. For the moment he had shut his ears to the remoter noises and was listening to the stuff that streamed out of the telescreen. It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grammes a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grammes a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it. Parsons swallowed it easily, with the stupidity of an animal. The eyeless creature at the other table swallowed it fanatically, passionately, with a furious desire to track down, denounce, and vaporize anyone who should suggest that last week the ration had been thirty grammes. Syme, too-in some more complex way, involving doublethink, Syme swallowed it. Was he, then, alone in the possession of a memory? ”

    — George Orwell, 1984, part 1, chapter 5.

    Not much more to say to this proposition… we freeze in the dark in the winter, while their cutbacks increase the numbers of deaths in the cities in the summer, thus justifying further cutbacks in power to reduce ‘emissions’.

  51. polistra
    June 14, 2011 at 4:01 am
    ###

    This administration cant help it. Their Marxists, so “Central Control” and “Collectivism” is in their DNA. Their world view can not contain any other solution.

  52. Gnstr
    June 14, 2011 at 6:56 am

    give him a chance, how many people were against the new deal? this could be a lifeline, and cut dependence on non-renewable sources of energy
    ###

    And look how well that raw deal worked out. Our country has been ruined because of it. And don’t give me that depression non-sense. All the Raw deal did was to prolong it! So yay, comparing this with the raw deal is valid.

  53. The last thing you ever want to see and hear is the federal government at your doorstep saying, “I’m here to help you.”

  54. Dylan’s drive-by was amusing, but sorely lacking in knowledge.

    The most amazingly ridiculous statement was:
    “Designing for peak demand is costly and wasteful”.

    Here’s the thing: NOT designing for peak demand is STUPID and DANGEROUS.

    Here in Calgary, we sometimes go some length of time in mid winter with continuous temperatures below -30C. EVERY demand is a peak demand. You can’t delay running your oven, dishwasher, washer and dryer until it warms up, and the whole time you NEED your furnace running. Also, it’s winter, so you NEED the lights on, the sun sets at 4pm. Net result? Our power suppliers are begging and pleading for everyone to stop heating and cooking and cleaning. Proper response? Build sufficient energy capacity.

    Okay, that’s an extreme winter-climate example, but our entire civilization is based on technology. Half the biggest trouble-makers, that in a bygone era were out looting in the streets, are sitting at home playing CoD and WoW. Personally, I want their power to stay on.

    While you’re at it, the idea of building sufficient transportation infrastructure seems to now be archaic. How freaking Annoying and Wasteful is it for me to take over an hour at “rush hour” to get 5 miles away? Imagine the sheer waste of fuel spent idling (and again it’s a winter climate, most of the year turning off the car is NOT an option), imagine the wear and tear on engine parts and clutches.

    Infrastructure, both power and transportation, is one of the few things that I’ve always believed require government involvement, for the simple fact that private industry can’t always muscle their way into doing what needs to be done. Since a government is SUPPOSED to be of and for the people, they should do the Right Thing. Sadly, governments across all first world countries have been hijacked by people bound and determined to SCREW US UP in the name of the green god.

  55. President
    Obama underscored that commitment in the Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future (White House 2011b).
    To advance that policy, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) (U.S.
    Congress 2009) accelerated the development of smart grid technologies, investing $4.5 billion for
    electricity delivery and energy reliability activities to modernize the electric grid and implement demonstration
    and deployment programs (as authorized under Title XIII of EISA).

    With in the first 6 pages this ‘investing $4.5 billion‘ was mentioned. But a current powerline installation rates
    Typical installed costs for 765 kV, 500 kV and 345 kV transmission lines are:
    Voltage Class Cost Range/Mile*
    ——————— ——————
    765 kV Single Circuit $2.6 – 4.0 Million
    500 kV Single Circuit $2.3 – 3.5 Million
    345 kV Double Circuit $1.5 – 2.5 Million
    345 kV Single Circuit $1.1 – 2.0 Million
    *Average construction costs in 2008 dollars; rural terrain with rolling hills;
    elevations up to 4000 feet above sea level; includes siting and ROW costs; excludes
    station costs.

    Which means they have put in enough money for under 2000 miles of new lines?

    From the report. “If utilities do not have a strong incentive to sell less energy and operate more efficiently,
    they will not see sufficient benefits from investing in certain smart grid applications. Recognizing
    this issue, state commissions are increasingly confronting questions about regulatory reform
    options that change utility business models to, for example, make energy efficiency a more
    central part of their mission.”

    What happened to providing a service to the customer that they want to buy?

  56. It’s time to remember another part of Eisenhower’s Military/Industrial Complex Speech:

    “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific/technological elite.
    It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.”
    .

  57. ALL: It also depends on WHERE the grid will be installed. Put on your AGENDA 21 caps and think what areas will actually have the grid, and what areas will not have access.

  58. Within the confines of known technology, we can accomplish anything which we deem worthy of investment..
    Decisions made to implement the smart grid would likely be sound and necessary in their own right and worth the cost.
    However, regarding our nation’s energy needs, we are witness to rhetoric from the highest levels of government in support of an ideological agenda where economic and other real- world considerations are of little importance.
    While some have argued that the power grid is managed by individuals and not the state, one need only look back at the Enron affair to see how easily the state colludes with those who would rob us or bend us to their own purpose.

  59. Stephan says:
    June 14, 2011 at 4:43 am
    What do you need a grid for when you are killing power production?

    That’s a good question. You have to distinguish between the portion of a smartgrid that handles routing power and transmitting grid management information from the part that penetrates into homes and businesses.

    Why do we need smartgrid in private homes and businesses? Autoresponse to shut off demand automatically due to erratic and unreliable green energy is the only justification. Government is making sure smartgrid is built. The utilities and other companies are going along with it because they are alternately being bribed and threatened. And what happens when we find out that green energy doesn’t work? We are left with smartgrid.

    The Home Area Network (HAN) monitors eventually all of our electrical devices via data packets sent through wireless protocol (see http://www.zigbee.org/) to the thermostat, the smart meter, or through the power wires (see http://www.homeplug.org/tech/app_smart_energy). These smart devices will all have their own IP addresses (IPv6) and will be able to report details about usage. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 provides for smartgrid and unlimited ‘data mining’. New computer power supplies (now being sold in Europe) have the Intellon modem chip built in, and when the computer is plugged into the wall, it is automatically networked via smartgrid. That means your personal information is exposed to hackers and other interested parties without an ethernet cable, without a wireless access point, just by being plugged in.

    Wtih smartgird, utilities plan to supply customers with powerline-based broadband. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been given $millions to develop powerline communications and security. That tells you security issues have not been solved. The Obama Administration has new cybersecurity laws that back up an ability to kill the internet. The free and open internet we know may be replaced by another government controlled broadband along the lines of China. Sniffers will read all of your traffic on that system. There will be no security measure in our homes the government cannot penetrate. Your TV, computer, refrigerator, and other devices will report what we do in our homes. Large unstructured databases being developed will make it possible to search and find information about anyone, what they do and who they know.

    If there were only one effort to increase government control over us, it would be easy to dismiss it as a wacky conspiracy theory. However, we see multiple efforts by government aimed at controlling us:
    • Smartgrid – monitoring us in our homes and businesses – attack on 4th amendment
    • Global warming – control everything produces CO2, justifies total control over economy, end of free market
    • Obamacare – literally giving government the power of life and death over us
    • Political judges – end rule of law, craft remedies for ‘unfairness’, reinterpret Constitution
    • Food security – taking away the ability of people to grow and share their own food, coupled with deals with big business to control seeds – fundamental attack on human rights, independent living
    • Federal and state education programs – political indoctrination, usurping parental rights over mind and body of children – fundamental attack on family structure
    • Social security – identify people with a number from birth, make us more dependent on government
    • Car GPS – monitoring where we travel, supposedly only to replace the gas tax
    • Video surveillance, smartphones – monitor our movements
    • Cybersecurity – controlling our ability to communicate freely, eventually replacing the internet
    • TSA – outrageous ‘security’ measures designed to establish the authority of government search us anytime, anywhere – attack on 4th amendment
    • Gun laws – take away the right of people to throw off tyranny; it isn’t about hunting – attack on 2nd amendment
    • Hate speech – take away the right of people to voice religious beliefs, necessary to allow an oppressive government to destroy the moral underpinning of society, and allow that government to redefine ‘good’ and ‘bad’ freely and thereby justify any actions – attack on 1st amendment
    • Endangered species laws – systematically used beyond original purpose to take away private property rights
    • Environmental impact laws – add huge costs and delays that effective stifle economic growth, slowly make system unworkable as population has grown – deliberately
    • Media – propaganda designed to instill fear and hopelessness, to make us less willing to resist
    • FED, IRS – control our money, inflationary policy designed to rob savings
    • Regulations – designed to reward businesses that play along with government by reducing competition, and creating profitable regulatory markets (e.g. GE, IBM, CISCO, and many others with smartgrid) – end of free market
    • Interstate commerce clause abuse – give federal govenment power over states, abolishing 10th amendment
    • Federal research grants, state funded research – corrupt science, justify regulations

    Paranoia? Why can’t we have stalinism here? Sometimes they really are out to get you. We are supposed to have limited government, and they don’t want to be limited. Unless we resist, we lose.

    Smartgid is a very real threat that can be justified only because the government wants to attach unreliable renewable energy directly to the grid. Renewable energy is justifiable only because of anthropogenic global warming hysteria. This site is critically important to maintain freedom. It’s not just science anymore, this is a battle for our minds and our lives (living in third world conditions kills people).

  60. Designing for peak demand is costly and wasteful

    Perhaps. But when the road is overloaded at rush hour, traffic slows but everyone still gets home.

    When the power grid overloads, everyone is COMPLETELY STOPPED, no power at all to anyone for hours or days (except those fortunate enough to have generators), so work stops, nursing home breathing machines stop, traffic lights stop, telephone service stops, hospitals can’t do surgeries, water companies can’t pump to residents, stores close, cooking stops, food spoils, tempers flare, riots, looting, people die.

    Now tell me again why power companies shouldn’t design for peak demand?

  61. A “Smart Grid” is an economic wet dream for the utilities and thoroughly embraced by central planners and control freaks. It is a way to enhance the utility of diffuse and inefficient power generation by “renewable sources”. It amazes me that we fret over presumed scarcity of hydrocarbon fuels 50-100 years in the future or even a slightly warmer planet when our grandchildren are elderly 90 years from now. We’re prepared to invest trillions of dollars. Yet we have the obvious and impending implosion of Social Security and Medicare bearing down on us in OUR lifetimes and we prefer to ignore the problem…because it’s “too hard” to solve. The Smart Grid is a green fantasy and a socialist’s dream.

  62. What it really means is that with the click of a mouse button power from places like Oklahoma, which has no power shortages, can be redirected to larger markets like California which has lots of power generation issues. So under this program California’s problems can become a problem for the people of Oklahoma. Great, I’ll end up subsidizing California’s electrical needs and sitting in the dark more frequently. While those in California ‘feel good’ about being all green using this magical electricity that just appears out of thin air.

  63. We needed a new roof anyway, so we roofed the place with solar panels. Enough that, even on cloudy days, the system produces more power than we need. The power company doesn’t pay enough for the extra power to be worth the trouble of dealing with them. So, when they asked where we would like the new smart meter installed, we told them to put it someplace where the sun doesn’t shine.

  64. From Gnstr on June 14, 2011 at 6:56 am:

    give him a chance, how many people were against the new deal?

    And now that the US is being bankrupted by decades of runaway social spending with ever-mounting debt in a vicious process that is virtually politically and possibly even financially impossible to stop before a complete financial collapse, We Can See They Were RIGHT!

  65. “From the report. “If utilities do not have a strong incentive to sell less energy and operate more efficiently,
    they will not see sufficient benefits from investing in certain smart grid applications.”
    ====================================================================

    This is the dilemma utilities are in. Many, don’t really want to implement the residential smart grid technologies. But, they’re forced to. In August or July, even though we’re contracted to buy electricity at a specific rate, our total rate will be set. It will be based upon our usage during the peak demand day of the year. The lower the usage, the lower the rate. This will most likely be the day of the highest heat index for our state. We’ve been lucky so far and have had less usage compared to other utilities, but one day, we won’t be. And, we’ll pass the additional cost on. If they (governmental controllers) become too punitive, we won’t have a choice but to be punitive to our consumers.

    Ultimately, this will lead to a government takeover of the utility business if left uncorrected. There is no successful business model that discourages use of their product. The industry will fail or break the consumer but we’re not going to do without electricity, so a govt takeover of some form will be what is required. For those that can’t see this, …….open your eyes. This is disastrous in terms of our economy, but much worse in terms of our rights and liberties.

  66. Yes…first the Smart Grid. Then the legions of hackers to break in and make life miserable for all of us a month later. I don’t see any way this won’t happen. We are setting ourself up for a recipe of continuing major grid disasters.

  67. From Hemmann

    I understand everybody’s tendency here is to view anything Obama tries to propose as a big ticket item, but of all people, do the current grid that runs at inefficient levels actually make rational sense? Some people around here demonstrate the same lock-step, non-objective conclusions based pronouncements ridiculed on the other side. If the price of electricity continues its upward trend, not hard to believe, how about constructive counter proposal that eliminates the loss and inefficiency that a decades old infrastructure produces?

    Just sayin’ the problem is not political.

    IMHO

  68. Jim, too. says:
    June 14, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Yes…first the Smart Grid. Then the legions of hackers to break in and make life miserable for all of us a month later. I don’t see any way this won’t happen. We are setting ourself up for a recipe of continuing major grid disasters.
    =====================================================================

    It will and there’s nothing we can do about it. Oh, sure, some net admin guys like me will get fired from time to time for “allowing” this to happen, but the fact is, the confluence of the two advancing technologies(smart grid and the internet) makes it impossible to be hack free. Especially small companies that can’t afford teams admin or security teams.

  69. @David Hemmann
    ‘”how about constructive counter proposal that eliminates the loss and inefficiency that a decades old infrastructure produces?”

    How about the govt stops squandering resources on its pet projects and allows the free market to make unbiased objective determinations of cost/ efficiency? Intelligent design was a joke, you know that right?

  70. AGW gridlock.
    …-
    “Wind turbines switched off on 38 days every year”

    “Wind turbines will have to be switched off on 38 days every year because it is too windy, the National Grid said yesterday.”
    “In a new report, the grid said it could not cope with the surge of power from wind farms and will have to switch off turbines to avoid overloading the power transmission networks.
    The admission casts doubt on the Government’s decision to push for a seven-fold increase in the amount of electricity generated by wind by 2020.
    Wind farm operators are given “constraint” payments to keep their turbines idle and some experts believe this will cost almost £300 million a year by 2020, with the cost passed on to consumers.
    The National Grid fears that warm and breezy summer nights could cause a surge in the electricity, combined with a lack of consumer demand. The electricity cannot be stored, so one solution – known as the “balancing mechanism” – is to switch off or reduce the power supplied.
    They are currently switched off on 25 days a year, but the National Grid says this will have to increase significantly as more turbines are built. ”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/8573885/Wind-turbines-switched-off-on-38-days-every-year.html

  71. You people must learn to trust the new Messiah completely, and put all your faith in his ability to work miracles. Then nothing can go wrong!

  72. We saw with the political calculus in who got flooded and who didn’t with the lower Mississippi flood, and in which GM dealerships were closed and which stayed open how the smart grid will be used by at least one of the two major parties.

  73. The electrical grid should be isolated from the internet for any attempt at real security. The grid can function wtih internal communications, but a hacker could be anywhere. Ubiquitous wireless access [1] makes the hacker’s job easier. Cyberecurity is a myth. Multiple independent isolated systems may be needed. Making one large connected power system may be a fatal flaw. Smart grid forces connections between systems and utilities want to provide connections to the internet as a new revenue stream.

    Security issues argue strongly for modular nuclear power [2], about 100 MW each, near point of use, in isolation from other systems, except perhaps in an emergency. Multiple redundant modular reactors should provide capacity and reliability.

    1) http://smartgrid.ieee.org/standards-ieee-approved-standards-related-to-smart-grid/3762-802154-2006-ieee-standard-for-information-technology-telecommunications-and-information-exchange-between-systems-local-and-metropolitan-area-networks-specific-requirements-part-154-wireless-medium-access-control-mac-and-physical-layer-phy-

    2) http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/nuclear/downsizing-nuclear-power-plants

  74. David Hemmann says:
    June 14, 2011 at 9:56 am

    From Hemmann

    “….. do the current grid that runs at inefficient levels actually make rational sense? Some people around here demonstrate the same lock-step, non-objective conclusions based pronouncements ridiculed on the other side. If the price of electricity continues its upward trend, not hard to believe, …….
    Just sayin’ the problem is not political. IMHO”
    ============================================================================
    First, of all, the words efficient and inefficient are thrown around like there has been some objective assessment of the current state of our grid. There hasn’t been. Are there things we can do to make it better? Sure. Newer less stressed lines. We could build generation plants closer to their destination. Some hydro generators are over 50 y/o. Obviously we could replace them with more efficient models. I’d recommend putting more in at any place deemed viable.

    As to the rising rates, surely you can see why this is happening and how it is entirely political. Coal is the cheapest source of fuel for electric generation. Politically, though, it is almost impossible to open a new one. See here for just one example..http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Holcomb_Expansion…look at the dates!!!! These people are begging to drop some $4 billion dollars in western Kansas in order to provide cheap and reliable energy to the tri-state area. We’ve been trying to get started for over 5 years now. The then governor, now the Sec of HHS, blocked them every step of the way…..often on the fringe of legality and certainly against the will of both houses. The next cheapest source is nuclear power. We’re not building them either…..guess why! More politics. I mentioned earlier we should build more hydro….we’re not! Guess why!! More politics.

    Back to your “inefficient”. What magical thing do you believe can happen with the wave of a presidential hand? Our grid won’t change its structure, I’m not aware of any proposal to significantly change anything, so let’s address what we know. First of all, I think it behooves advocates of “smart grid” tech to familiarize themselves with a thing I like to call reality.
    Wind and solar….are the most expensive and unreliable form of energy generation. We can’t store AC power. Coal and nuclear are used for base load. Ideally, nat gas would be used for peak demand, only. But if we embrace wind and solar, it would have to back up base load, too. The most efficient use of natural gas is for heating and cooking. Using wind and solar will necessarily increase the cost of electricity and heating and what ever other uses we can think of that applies to nat gas. Save it for peak demand, heating and cooking. That’s the most efficient use of that fuel. Understand that planting more whirly gigs will not increase any efficiency, but rather run counter toward the stated goal. Also, understand solar panels use REE……China has got that market cornered unless we reopen some old mines. Consider what is necessary to obtain it from China and then think of how “efficient” that is.

    David, there’s no reason on God’s green earth why electricity shouldn’t be cheap, reliable and readily available to every resident of this nation. There’s no excuse why it isn’t except for the politically motivated lunatics that block cheap and reliable energy at every turn in any form.

  75. Hoser says:
    June 14, 2011 at 10:45 am

    The electrical grid should be isolated from the internet for any attempt at real security.
    =======================================================================

    Too late. Cloud computing and smart grid tech has been going on for several years now.

  76. Hoser
    June 14, 2011 at 8:45 am
    ###

    Do you remember that California energy crisis thing a few years ago? The talking heads panned it off as caused by deregulation. Only in the lefty mind can adding regulations be called deregulation. Anyways, it was clearly engineered by Duke and Reliant, though the MSM did their best to hide the fact. Guess what both Duke and Reliant were also up to back then? If you guessed pushing powerline broadband you’d be correct. Powerline broadband is idiotic from a technical point of view, so Duke and Reliant were tacking thew crony capitalistic route, which also entails destroying the wireless and cable broadband industries, too bad comcast is also a crony.

  77. The smart grid will reduce the need for new power plants because we will all have our quotas so the SMART meters can cut our power access when we reach it. We will avoid brownouts and outages since we will all have limited access to power. Big Brother will be watching all of us. (rationing)

  78. Alright, that’s it. I’m just going to have to run the house from an off-grid inverter. I’ll use the new-old Nickel-Iron batteries that last for several decades with minimal maintenance. If I add solar and/or wind generation, those can charge the batteries directly.

    The only thing the “Smart Meter” will see, my only connection to the grid, will be a big-ass industrial battery charger. If they start charging different rates around here for peak usage times, I’ll charge during the off-peak times. If I add those “renewable” sources then I’ll wire up the system to wait for the inverter to set off a low-battery alarm, then run the charger for just so-many minutes after the alarm turns off, use the grid power for the practical minimum. And that’ll be when, due to the changing energy prices, I don’t find it more economical to simply charge the batteries from a fossil fuel-burning generator instead of the grid.

    If you don’t want a “Smart Grid” snooping into your energy usage, nor will risk possible hacking of your modern “smart” appliances, nor will accept either utility (read government) imposed shut-downs of your equipment or “necessary” blackouts, isolation is the way to go.

  79. RockyRoad says:
    There’s absolutely no way Obama is going to survive this next election, were he to spend even TWO billion dollars trying to hornswoggle people to vote for him again. We’ve all had about as much “hopey/changey” con-artistry as we can take. The American public will not be so easily duped next time around. What he’s offering we don’t want.

    Unfortunately, the only alternatives are fast or slow. There is no “reverse” on this ride.

  80. punch line: “and reduce the need for new power plants.”
    After all, what good is wealth if you can’t make it scarce and then control it and everyone else with it?

    The worst person I know
    Mother in law…mother in law!
    The worst person I know
    Mother in law,,,mother in law!
    She thinks her voice is the Constitution
    But if she thinks that should be the solution
    Satan should be her name
    Mother in law…mother in law!
    …Sent from down below
    Mother in law….

  81. From Hemmann
    In response to James Sexton:

    According to Dept of Energy study, a 6.9 % loss of power occurs within our system that costs consumers 19 billion a year. You may wish to question their methodology, but 20 billion a year seems a rather high cost of for you and me to have to pay. I’m not advocating Obama’s approach per se. I’m advocating against the carping that hides a real need to upgrade the US infrastructure for purely economic reasons. I don’t know if anybody around here lives near Hoover Dam or the TVA, but these “government intrusions” into the private sector cost a ton of money spent just when our economy was DOA. These projects produced jobs and increased the economic welfare for a class of people.
    Why not the positive discussion for a change instead of the usual “government is going to eat me” meme that thrives on paranoia. It the same non-logical hysteria of the AGW extremists from the reverse side.

  82. Obama will be re-elected because too many Americans have become ignorant of economics and basic math.

  83. I was waiting for someone to cite the Hoover Dam and the TVA (why not Niagara?). It’s not the 1930s or 1940s anymore…although we may be heading there. The big difference is that those projects increased generation. Transmission is dictated by physics. It’s very difficult to legislate physics (or morality). We will ALWAYS have losses due to resistance in transmission lines (see Ohm’s Law). I bet we could cut our losses significantly if we made high voltage transmission lines out of aluminum core and braided copper sheath…or better still, braided silver sheath, but you know that ain’t gonna happen. The more intelligent answer is to place generation closer to the point of use. Oddly, this simple little trick holds true for virtually any form of energy but is especially true for electricity. No matter how “smart” a grid becomes, it is still a victim of the cruel laws of physics.

    In a modern society electricity is a lot like food. You can’t live without it. Generating less, charging more and expecting the masses to use less, more efficiently for the same amount of wealth is NOT the pathway to prosperity.

  84. I would be remiss if I neglected to compliment James Sexton on his informed and insightful comments. I had no idea WUWT had a resident “meter geek” but I am very glad of it.

    Hoser made some points that were so good I’m stealing them in the form of a cut and paste to some friends of mine. Pity I could find nothing with which I could disagree. Brilliant!

    What really distresses me is the prospect of Powerline Broadband. The ARRL demonstrated a long time ago why this was a REALLY bad idea. The RF spurious harmonics could render a lot of the radio spectrum unusable for a lot of applications.

  85. David Hemmann says:
    June 14, 2011 at 11:47 am
    From Hemmann
    In response to James Sexton:
    According to Dept of Energy study, a 6.9 % loss of power occurs within our system that costs consumers 19 billion a year
    ——————————————————————————————————-
    It takes energy to push electrons along a wire (or push/pull them if ac). So you get less out of the far end than you put in at the near end. This is called power loss. Schoolboy physics.

  86. According to Dept of Energy study, a 6.9 % loss of power occurs within our system that costs consumers 19 billion a year.

    Recharging batteries for an electric car wastes between 15% and 50% of the power. The typical electric car produces more CO2 than a fossil fuel car, once you factor in the electricity production. Simply manufacturing the car creates as much CO2 as a lifetime of driving.

  87. klem says:
    June 14, 2011 at 6:17 am

    All I want to know is will this reduce the cost of power to me or increase it?

    Reduce it, you fool, since at “appropriate” times you won’t have any of it to use….oops my bad, except for the Obamaspeak Sophists’ interpretation of “commerce” – as a universal covering everything one does or might possibly do or not do, including just sitting around doing nothing or just thinking, as an “economic choice” or “act, regardless of choice” – such that if you aren’t using the energy, you are still participating in “commerce” and thus must pay for anyone who is using it or might or will have to use it, such as you.

    Yet, despite your crass economic concerns and unholy desire to be unequal, Rejoice, for “Peace Electric Justice is at hand!” anyway. Kool Ade looney or Victory Gin pacified style Justice, which also conveniently happens to be able to completely substitute for Universal Health Care – Victory Gin, that is, though the cost, availability, and amount may vary according to the “correct” supply and your “complete life” calculation.

  88. Just a reminder on the one Obama promise that didn’t come with a 3 day expiration date

    Not included in this cut but from the same interview is his promise to bankrupt coal powered electricity producers

    They couldn’t pass Cap & Tax, but Ms. Jackson and the EPA have stepped in to accomplish the same goals in much more arbitrary and complete fashion. Never mind the shaky economic and employment prospects, we will be protected from the demon Carbon whether we need it or want it or not.

  89. David Hemmann says:
    June 14, 2011 at 11:47 am

    From Hemmann
    In response to James Sexton:

    “According to Dept of Energy study, a 6.9 % loss of power occurs within our system that costs consumers 19 billion a year. You may wish to question their methodology, but 20 billion a year seems a rather high cost of for you and me to have to pay. I’m not advocating Obama’s approach per se. I’m advocating against the carping that hides a real need to upgrade the US infrastructure for purely economic reasons. I don’t know if anybody around here lives near Hoover Dam or the TVA, but these “government intrusions” into the private sector cost a ton of money spent just when our economy was DOA. These projects produced jobs and increased the economic welfare for a class of people.
    Why not the positive discussion for a change instead of the usual “government is going to eat me” meme that thrives on paranoia. It the same non-logical hysteria of the AGW extremists from the reverse side.”
    ==================================================================================
    David, I should clear things up for you. I’ve been thinking of writing a small article or even maybe a longer one with these issues discussed. What is often the problem is the lack of knowledge the public has of the electric business. I hold the electric industry responsible. It is our failing to engage and educate that brings us here. Yes, 6.9% line loss seems high…..and it is, depending upon what type of system you are and geography, etc…… The fact is, if my utility had 6.9% line loss, we’d jump for joy! Let me explain.

    Line loss is generally defined as the difference between power bought and power sold….(…although generation utilities would necessarily define it differently.)
    But, to view this properly, we need to consider some physics. our grid is nothing but a transport vehicle of energy. There is no vehicle that doesn’t cause loss of energy. So, we need to expect some, but where does the 6.9% come from? Well, lots of things. Speaking towards distribution only….. the sizing and length of line will effect line loss. Sizing isn’t that difficult, if things were to remain static. They don’t. People and businesses come and go and so the energy requirements specific to those parts of the line constantly change. This leaves the company in a dilemma, should we run out there and change the size of the line both there and up and downstream? That certainly would decrease the line loss, but someone has to pay for the wire, labor, and machinery…….. Other considerations for line loss. Abandoned services. For various reasons, people choose to turn off electricity to specific locations. Now, my utility is a rural utility, so things are different than say a municipality. We have almost a 1:1 relationship with transformers and meters……. that isn’t so for munis. So some one moved out, (and this example is beautiful) so, we, using smart grid technology remotely disconnect the service. But the story doesn’t end there…… everything else is still in tact. How much energy does it take to keep a pot(transformer) hot? Recall, physics tells us heat= energy, but then, the question is, “Is someone going to move back in soon?”……if they are, it isn’t worth the time energy and effort to wreck the service only to put it back up later. Heck, if we’re remotely disconnecting, is it really efficient to roll a truck to disconnect the transformer? It is not. Trees, trees are the bane of rural utilities. We’ve got over 1000 miles of line(that’s not very much.) Trees grow into our line, guess where some of the power goes…….. some of our consumers even attempt to block us from cutting the trees back from the line. Power goes to ground. As I recall, there are some other commentators here that work in other parts of the industry, and they can give you a better grasp of their issues with line loss. But I can assure you, there isn’t a one of us in the industry that believes there is a magic apple out there for all of us to take a bite and magically loose these issues. Smart grid and efficiency are misnomers in this discussion and don’t reflect reality.

    I’m not stating there isn’t anything good coming from “smart grid” technology, there is…..auto line switching would be a good example, but there are some significant safety concerns that go with it. But, there are also some very bad implications thrown into this smart grid technology.

    If you’d read the link I presented, you should be alarmed. I have no desire, nor intention of going beyond the meter as a electricity provider. The fact of the matter is, there is no need for the shortage of electricity we are seeing today. It is entirely self inflicted. There is no necessity to do “Time Of Use” billing. All we need to do is make more electricity. I don’t wish to operate your AC. But I can, today. There is no reason to put up solar panels….. it isn’t ready. Windmills will never be efficiently used. That is ancient technology.

    The reason why we’re having a “government will eat you” conversation, is because this is what they are doing. I’m not offering an opinion. I’m stating facts. You can interpret as you wish, but this is coming from a guy that does it for a living. This isn’t a jobs project, it is a control project.

  90. n.b – also in regard to the smartness of the smart grid, keep firmly in mind Obama’s own “logic” as to a Dr. Zeke Emmanuel “calculation” of one’s personal health care “needs”: granny don’t need that hip or back surgery, all she needs is some pain medicine and a wheelchair, and there certainly isn’t any “cost” to that calculation is there? She won’t get any narcotic side effects, such as nausea, somnolence, and constipation, and no pressure sores, further osteoporosis and muscle degeneration, no pneumonia, pulmonary emboli, or congestive heart failure from her relative lack of activity, no depression…..right? Plus, her family can watch her die “naturally” and without any need for even [further] assisted suicide!

  91. Dr. Dave says:
    June 14, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I would be remiss if I neglected to compliment James Sexton on his informed and insightful comments. I had no idea WUWT had a resident “meter geek” but I am very glad of it.

    Hoser made some points that were so good I’m stealing them in the form of a cut and paste to some friends of mine. Pity I could find nothing with which I could disagree. Brilliant!

    What really distresses me is the prospect of Powerline Broadband. The ARRL demonstrated a long time ago why this was a REALLY bad idea. The RF spurious harmonics could render a lot of the radio spectrum unusable for a lot of applications.
    =========================================================================
    Dr. Dave, thanks, and sigh….powerline broadband, that’s my next fight here. I should clarify, too. I’m not really a meter-man in the traditional sense of utility careers. I’m just an old hack of a net-admin that got this job because my employer didn’t know the subtle differences between a computer network and AMI technology. They understood it “used computers” to work, so they figured it had to be just about same-same. lol, and I always thought a phase had something to do with the lunar cycle..lol But, I’m fairly quick on the uptake……its been several years now.

  92. hemmann in reply to Mark Wagner CPA

    Mark, Sexton, Dr. Dave et al

    I couldn’t agree more that it is no longer the 1930s. At that time, electricity was considered part of the national resources we all shared like water use of our streams and open range. Teddy Roosevelt, that great Republican reformer stopped monopolies price manipulation, Somehow, the idea that cost/efficiency is now more a matter of market manipulation than line efficiency is obvious. Someone mentioned the California debacle of a few years ago. May I remind you the two energy traders were recorded chuckling how they screwed Grandma. As our resident line expert says, physic is not a matter of legislation. I couldn’t agree more. The good laws can’t be broken.

    That being said, how are brown outs, black outs, power disruption caused by reoccurring weather patterns that haven’t changed in our lifetimes mind you, somehow acceptable to any rational engineer or scientist who knows these are avoidable situations? Add to that that the cost of oil and the cost of electricity skyrocketed when both were put on the trading market. If you buy that line of thought, I would surmise that trading water from the Missouri, Mississippi, et al should be a matter of trade too. Want to invest in water futures?
    This was not Obama’s decision, it \was the combined efforts of both parties trying to get more lobbyist money. Seeing the problem as some sort of partisan politics is half right at best.

    Seeing AGW as bad critical thought makes sense. Seeing the high cost of energy as Obama’s fault suffers from the same lack of critical thinking. Just saying, engineering a national power system requires the rigors of physic and not the rhetoric of politics.
    IMHO

    Dave

  93. James Sexton,

    I must admit, I’m something of a groupie. As I scan down a long comment thread I always make sure to read your comments, those of RockyRoad, Willis and several others. At the same time, I’ve learned who I can avoid without missing anything. I never thought you were a “meter man”. You’re far too erudite for that. But this topic was too irresistible to avoid reading all comments. Obviously, I’m no engineer (although my father was an electronics engineer). I grew up learning about electricity and, like my late father, I’m a licensed ham. Wind power simply drives me insane. No sane engineer would choose this as a means of generating electricity when we can build nukes and are sitting on a huge pile of coal. So…do you think we should make high voltage transmission line out of steel or aluminum core with silver braid (skin effect) to build a “modern” transmission infrastructure?

  94. I wouldn’t make jokes about LENR. There could well be an energy revolution from it once it is commercialized.

    What is LENR? This video will give a basic picture of what it is:

  95. The Patterson fuel cell is already a practical application of LENR.

    ABC News report on the Patterson power cell

  96. David Hemmann says:
    June 14, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    hemmann in reply to Mark Wagner CPA

    Mark, Sexton, Dr. Dave et al

    ………..
    That being said, how are brown outs, black outs, power disruption caused by reoccurring weather patterns that haven’t changed in our lifetimes mind you, somehow acceptable to any rational engineer or scientist who knows these are avoidable situations? Add to that that the cost of oil and the cost of electricity skyrocketed when both were put on the trading market. If you buy that line of thought, I would surmise that trading water from the Missouri, Mississippi, et al should be a matter of trade too. Want to invest in water futures?
    This was not Obama’s decision, it \was the combined efforts of both parties trying to get more lobbyist money. Seeing the problem as some sort of partisan politics is half right at best……..
    ==============================================================
    I see, I’ve probably left you with the wrong impression. I don’t blame Obama for the high cost of energy, but I do blame his base. You can blame it on the markets if you wish, but the way I see it, the high costs are because of the restrictive policies for building new capacity in a world of ever increasing demand. More basics. High demand+less availability = higher cost. It doesn’t matter what you do with it,(open markets or not) skyrocketing costs is what’s going to happen. Were there and are there people that would manipulate and profit from the poor judgment of our policy makers? Yep….and always will. It isn’t acceptable, but they don’t control capacity production nor the increase in demand. And, yes, there are people on both left and right that equally share blame.

    That said, continuing down this road is madness. We don’t need more of this, we need to walk away from most of it. As I stated earlier, we know what works and what doesn’t. We need to scrap the initiatives of the things that have demonstrated poor return for the money and effort. And, just so I’m very clear, my position doesn’t have anything to do with bashing Obama. While I’m a conservative and usually oppose his policies, I’ve a much greater concern than trying to score political points for a team that only occasionally plays on my side. My position has to do with the fact that smart grid technology doesn’t lower the cost of electricity, it raises the cost. It is demonstrable. I thought I made it pretty clear earlier, but sometimes I make assumptions that aren’t correct and skip writing pertinent details.

    James

  97. James Sexton says:
    June 14, 2011 at 11:00 am
    ….there’s no reason on God’s green earth why electricity shouldn’t be cheap, reliable and readily available to every resident of this nation. There’s no excuse why it isn’t except for the politically motivated lunatics that block cheap and reliable energy at every turn in any form.
    ======================================================================================
    This statement should be on a plaque in every legislator”s, and judge”s office. In the U.S., from the local city council to Congress and the Supreme Court.

  98. Dr. Dave says:
    June 14, 2011 at 2:09 pm
    James Sexton,
    ……
    “So…do you think we should make high voltage transmission line out of steel or aluminum core with silver braid (skin effect) to build a “modern” transmission infrastructure?”
    ==================================================================

    Its trick, and I’m probably not the one to ask. What’s cheaper…..what’s more durable and what provides best conductivity……….

    As to the other stuff, that is some great company you put me in and high praise……of which I can not hold to be true, but, that was a nice complement which I’ll probably print out and put on my “I love me” wall.

    Thanks Dave.

  99. from Hemmann to James Sexton

    You and I share more than my words may have conveyed also.
    My comments were directed to the more general discussion that currently takes place here concerning policy. Regulation is not the hobgoblin portrayed so often. Wouldn’t you agree the spent rod overfilled cooling pools in Japan could have used a little over site from someone not concerned with profit/risk as its primary criteria?

    Anyway, i do appreciate your time in this discussion, I know I came away more aware of factors. My comments were meant in just the same way.

    Thanks

  100. James Sexton says:
    ================================
    You go……..
    I’m just hanging on for the ride, watching you do what you do best……..;-)

  101. We had some ‘smart’ grid ideas from our CEO National Grid. As I understand the smart part: basically a computer decides whether you get to use your PC or I get to use my washing machine. Too bad for the one whose power goes off! The smart part I suppose is who can hack their computer to keep their lights on!

  102. With a smart grid we could have a register for those who oppose nuclear or coal power plants and turn them off first when power shortages arrive.

  103. Bureaukrats can’t even properly roast a Wiener. How can we Evah trust them with the energy distribution system of this country?
    Who is John Galt? And where is Atlantis?

  104. James Sexton says:
    June 14, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Its trick, and I’m probably not the one to ask. What’s cheaper…..what’s more durable and what provides best conductivity……….
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    It is indeed a trick, Sir. My Dad caught me in that one when I knew “everything” at about 19 years of age. Silver has the best conductivity of virtually any common metal under normal atmospheric conditions. Trouble is, it’s weak, highly corrosive and expensive. But man, oh mam is it an efficient conductor of electricity. I used to subscribe to a newsletter by a Dr. Selevan. He was was an E.E. before he trod down the road to perdition and became an M.D. He wrote about drugs but he always included a little blurb about physics which I always loved. He would explain why soap bubbles shimmer, how little kids playing little league baseball actually have less reaction time to a pitch than big league ball players (ball velocity and the distance between mound and home plate). In one issue he described high voltage transmission lines. I was utterly fascinated. I’m talking about those those high voltage transmission lines strung up on the very high towers. It is cost prohibitive to bury them mostly because they need to be “air cooled” for efficiency.. They’re not made out out highly conductive materials (e.g. copper) due to expense and lack of physical durability. So they make them out of high tensile steel and aluminum which favors the weight and strength side of the equation. Sure…we could make more efficiently conductive power lines…but at what cost. Would the benefits outweigh the costs? I’m not sure these Smart Grid advocates have worked out the physics that electrical engineers had down to a science 50 years ago.

  105. Dr. Dave says:
    June 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    It is indeed a trick, Sir. My Dad caught me in that one when I knew “everything” at about 19 years of age. Silver has…….. I’m talking about those those high voltage transmission lines strung up on the very high towers. It is cost prohibitive to bury them mostly because they need to be “air cooled” for efficiency.. They’re not made out out highly conductive materials (e.g. copper) due to expense and lack of physical durability. So they make them out of high tensile steel and aluminum which favors the weight and strength side of the equation. Sure…we could make more efficiently conductive power lines…but at what cost. Would the benefits outweigh the costs? I’m not sure these Smart Grid advocates have worked out the physics that electrical engineers had down to a science 50 years ago.
    ============================================================
    That sure is part of it. But it’s worse, they hear the words “smart grid” and “efficiency” and wet themselves believe people like your father or Dr. Selevan didn’t know anything then and people in the industry now are just evil profiteers, intentionally making people suffer through laws of physics that surely don’t apply today. That there must be a much better way of doing things today…. mostly because the technology hasn’t changed much since 70 years or so ago. The fact is, the only thing needing change was that we needed more. Efficiency is its own reward and profit seeking companies will adopt efficiency when it passes a cost/benefit analysis. But, throw in some PR, government grants, and threats for not adopting and all of that goes out the window. Sure they’ll adopt, and pass the costs on to the consumer. We’ve already seen this across the nation. And we wonder why we’re still suffering from our economic doldrums.

    Sadly, that ship is sailing and will leave port if we don’t turn it around soon. The tech cycle has already engaged. Factories have been converted and exported. (I believe Itron is the only company that has meter production plants in the U.S. now.) Soon the cost of reverting will be too great to overcome. We’ll have an always upward pressure on energy pricing because of this …… this insanity.

  106. Smart grid technologies can provide some advantages from better fault identification to load management options. However, since this will be paid for by each regulated utility’s captive customer base there is no reason that the feds should have any role at all. How much of this should be installed and paid for by customers should be decided by the regulators in each state. Logically, not every state will decide they want everything………or perhaps anything.

  107. Doug Badgero says:
    June 14, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Smart grid technologies can provide some advantages from better fault identification to load management options.
    ===========================================================
    One of the few bright spots that smart grid brought us was Outage Management. As far as load management, the current thrust is still “Demand Response”, which is code for shutting down individual use during peak hours.

  108. David Hemmann says:
    June 14, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    from Hemmann to James Sexton

    You and I share more than my words may have conveyed also.
    Anyway, i do appreciate your time in this discussion, I know I came away more aware of factors. My comments were meant in just the same way.

    Thanks
    ===================================================================
    And you have my thanks. Too often conversations like this devolve into unseemly tirades. I appreciate your perspective, calm demeanor and affording me opportunities to respond to your various points.

    James

  109. “ShrNfr says:
    June 14, 2011 at 6:58 am”

    I have a feeling that when smart grids, smart meters and smart appliances become more widespread they will become mandatory and going “off grid” will be out-lawed. I foresee that these grids/meters/appliances will become mandatory along with rationing and any deviation will result in appliances being turned off and penalties being issued. We already have examples of this deviation/penalty based system – speed cameras and parking meters.

  110. I predict a burgeoning industry in bootleg jumpers. You heard it here first.
    “Why, no officer, those are not my 240V cables — I was just holding them for a friend, I swear.”
    Join The War on Power-Junkies.

  111. Interesting discussion. I also appreciate the input of James Sexton. It helps to identify the terminology of spin and move past that spin to practical reality.

    Now I am just waiting for someone to build that portable fusion device that will power my car, and when I return from my journey that same portable power pack will have the capability of powering, heating and cooling my house, where I can be comfortable relaxed and free of any green guilt trip, knowing the same device is capable of doing the same for some other human beings anywhere in the world that needs the same freedom and comfort I would then have,and off the grid too!!

    Let science free the mind and create these opportunities.

  112. gian [June 14, 2011 at 3:59 am] says:

    and who is going to pay for it? send me your guesses at howtoscrew@theconsumer.com

    ROTFLMAO! Thanks, I needed that!

    Gator [June 14, 2011 at 4:48 am] says:

    “The smartest grid we could design would be a tall iron grid that completely encircles DC.”

    Brilliant! I agree. The Beltway could be used as a template. Calling John Carpenter and Kurt Russell, time for part three? Escape from D.C.!

    polistra [June 14, 2011 at 4:01 am] says:
    racookpe1978 [June 14, 2011 at 7:35 am] says:
    Alcheson [June 14, 2011 at 7:38 am] says:

    (EMP, grid protection, etc …)

    Yes. The *only* reason for massive federal involvement would be in the area of national security, and needless to say this should have been started after 2001 (and even this alone would be damned expensive), but NOT a power distribution re-design with countless *new* failure vectors and weak links. When it comes to the so-called national grid, the very next word that follows should be hardening. Another word old-timers might suggest is TEMPEST.

    Instead, President Dumbo and his czars will promote using WI-FI consumer electronics, and farming out the systems to Sony or Samsung. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next brilliant idea is to dismantle the POTS networks and sell the copper. I swear, instead of improving our lives (as they did for many years), such breakthroughs as super dense IC’s, microscopic PCB traces, and surface mount electronics will become the death of us. It’s a brave new world.

    Mike [June 14, 2011 at 9:16 am] says:

    “What it really means is that with the click of a mouse button power from places like Oklahoma, which has no power shortages, can be redirected to larger markets like California which has lots of power generation issues.”

    We have a winner! This is a backdoor method to a state bailout. Instead of life support for patient California, it should be unplugged from the machines and allowed to wither away and die. The more I think about it, maybe we could try a system of no national grid. Let each state generate its own power, and to the ones that cannot meet their needs, too bad! That would be wonderfully Darwinian. (No Sarcasm).

  113. David Hemmann says June 14, 2011 at 11:47 am :


    According to Dept of Energy study, a 6.9 % loss of power occurs within our system that costs consumers 19 billion a year. You may wish to question their methodology, but …

    Are you at all familiar with the term “reaching the the point of diminishing returns”?

    This would be one of those occasions where that term is applicable; the last 6.9% being uneconomical to ‘recover’.

    BTW, what’s this “From Hemmann” business? It looks very strange …

    .

  114. To Jim
    Sorry if I’m not familiar with this blogs thread etiquette. nothing but clarity was intended.
    Yes, I am familiar with thre law of diminishing returns and as Sexton pointed out, media selection would be the only real way to up efficiency versus resistance. you can’t fight physics. My ongoing broader point was that brown outs, black out and yearly storm outages continue to diminish the grid. Obama’s plan has been attacked as “big brother” over reach, That’s a political argument based upon assumption just like the AGW’s fear mongering. I was merely trying to point out neither argument is worthy of real discussion if physical limitation within our system are not improved according to a realistic engineering analysis.
    I’m fairly sure that 6.9% analysis does not include the millions of people who lose power annually because lines are brought down by the same storms we have seen for decades. A little incremental improvement should not be a political issue, it should be common sense like filling pot holes in interstates.
    Thanks

  115. Smart Grid is essential to making the myriad claims that renewables can provide (almost) all of the USA electric usage realistic. All such claims rely on drastic reductions in predicted peak demand in the USA and the UK. The Smart Grid is merely a more sophisticatedand very expensive replacement of prior demand control by 2-way radio to shut-down AC, water heaters, heat pumps, etc. that have been used for about 20 years. Those were voluntary both to the utilities and to their consumers. Smart Grid is (effectively) mandated.
    Incidently, would also like to thank Mr. Sexton for his comments. I’m the “desgnated” Power EE for 7-8 small muny electric systems. We have the same concerns as the smaller RECC’s. I agree with his stated points and concerns.

  116. “. . . empowering consumers . . .”

    I doubt it. It will, however, empower government — which is part of the “hope and change” agenda of Pres. Obama.

  117. I think we all intuitively know that this new wonderful grid will cause electiric rates to increase. This wonderful smart grid will not benefit the consumer it will benefit the utilities and the government in the form of new taxes. We may indeed need to improve the natures power grid. We may indeed need to find someway to limit power consumption at peak periods. The problems are real. But don’t piss on our leg and tell us it’s raining. The objective is more money from the consumer. Simple as that!

  118. ferd berple says @ June 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm”. Simply manufacturing the car creates as much CO2 as a lifetime of driving.”

    So are you saying never buy a new car?

    REPLY: Since he brought up cars, a better question is: why is MR still driving an old CO2 belching MG with no pollution controls if he’s so concerned about the planet? – Anthony

  119. Moderate Republican says:
    June 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    ferd berple says @ June 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm”. Simply manufacturing the car creates as much CO2 as a lifetime of driving.”
    So are you saying never buy a new car?
    ============================================================
    Obviously, the continued manufacturing of cars are necessary to replace the ones that are irreparable. Not long ago, we had a thriving used car market, that wouldn’t necessitate the manufacturing of so many more. However, someone had an insidiously vapid idea that in order to reduce carbon emissions and keep afloat failed companies, we had to emit more carbon, it had the additional effect of seriously damaging the fiscal viability of the working poor of this nation. The “cash for clunkers program”.

    In the midst of an economic downturn, our policies significantly harmed the lower working class segment of our society by raising the bottom price of every used car in this nation. It further diminished supplies of used cars exacerbating the situation. Once again, our working poor were forced to buy something on credit in which many had no reasonable chance to pay off and defaulted on many more loans.

    In the end, our working poor were once again sacrificed in order to float companies that had made very poor business decisions and should have been allowed to die in order for a newer and better industry to emerge. Instead, we reinforced the idea that regardless of the failed business practices of some industries,(and executives) we, as a nation will still support their failed ways.

  120. Moderate Republican says:
    June 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    …………
    REPLY: Since he brought up cars, a better question is: why is MR still driving an old CO2 belchjing MG with no pollution controls if he’s so concerned about the planet? – Anthony
    ================================================

    Now Anthony, you know MR can offset his CO2 by paying penance or doing something else noble. For instance, brother Al gets a pass, because of all the great work he does spreading the word. So too then, does this apply to our new found friend MR. I think he’s paying penance right now by spreading the word to the ignorant masses. Maybe its kinda like the proselyting another religion does? (No offense to any religions, I’m just drawing parallels to various belief systems!)

  121. I get electricity from Progress Energy in the Tampa, Florida area. They installed a gadget near the meter that they can use to cut my electricity slightly in times of peak demand. But they never shut it off completely. I have never noticed any ill effects.

  122. B. CH.E. says:
    June 15, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    I get electricity from Progress Energy in the Tampa, Florida area. They installed a gadget near the meter that they can use to cut my electricity slightly in times of peak demand. But they never shut it off completely. I have never noticed any ill effects.
    ==========================================
    B. CH. E.,

    Can you provide more details about this?

  123. Hmmmm, yet, I bet. If there is any axiomatic statement about government it is that power granted is rarely returned, and almost universally abused.

    Mark

  124. From James Sexton on June 15, 2011 at 8:14 pm:

    Can you provide more details about this?

    Progress Energy – Florida home page:

    https://www.progress-energy.com/florida/home/index.page

    It’s their “EnergyWise Home” program:

    https://www.progress-energy.com/florida/home/save-energy-money/energy-efficiency-improvements/energy-wise/index.page?

    Enroll in the annual plan, let them control everything currently listed in the program (heating, cooling, water heater, pool pump) and you could save, at maximum, a whopping $147 a year, American dollars, in credits, which start accumulating once you’ve used up the initial 600kWh a month. Heating and cooling can be shut down for 16.5 of every 30 minutes during peak periods, while water heater, pool pump, and the backup heating strips for a heat pump may be off for 300 straight minutes. Yeah, that really sounds worthwhile to the consumer. After all, why would people even need hot water between 6-11 AM or 6-10 PM winter, 1-10 PM summer?

  125. There’s an easy way to cut down on long-distance, HV-line losses. Just up the voltage. American Electric Power has 765 kV lines strung around its system (the highest voltage of other US utilities is ~500 kV). Uping the voltage to 1500 kV would cut the current & resultant line losses.

    Of course the nanny-state/media, in its control/scare-the-masses strategy, says EM fields are “dangerous” & so higher voltage is bad, bad, bad. Those sizzling HV lines poison the air.

  126. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    June 15, 2011 at 11:52 pm
    From James Sexton on June 15, 2011 at 8:14 pm:
    Can you provide more details about this?
    Progress Energy – Florida home page:

    https://www.progress-energy.com/florida/home/index.page

    It’s their “EnergyWise Home” program: ……….
    ===================================================
    Thanks Kadaka, that’s what I was looking for. I’m wondering now about how typical B. CH. E.’s home life is. It isn’t my business, of course, but reading the details of the program, I doubt that I would be part of that without “noticing”. For instance, when I get home from work, especially during the summer, I may wish to take a hot shower, and I’m really sure I’d want a cool home to come to. As would my wife if she decides to take a job. Further, neither one of us would want to wait until past peak hours to try and do our laundry.

    $147 seems pretty cheap to give up some simple freedoms and liberties to a power company.

  127. In my dining room, I have a table with six chairs. Most days, only my wife and I eat there but occasionally we have dinner guests. If we were to change to a “smart grid” concept, we could retire four of the chairs and hire a servant. Whenever we had guests, the servant could move the two chairs around the table to seat the two people who appeared to him to currently be expressing the most appropriate political views. The other people could stand to eat. I fear, however, that the servant would eventually cost more than four chairs and that if he ever called in sick, we might have to cancel our dinner plans.

  128. A couple of points. First, I’ve seen some great comments on this thread, especially those of James Sexton.

    About a Smart Grid that arbitrarily turns off the heat in your house during peak demand in the Winter. Yes, it could kill some elderly people. Here’s a less obvious concern. Depending on how often these manufactured shortages occur, and for how long, they could contribute to toxic mold infestations. It’s possible that more energy would be expended to remediate the mold problems than would be ‘saved’ by reducing energy consumption during periods of peak demand during the Winter.

Comments are closed.