The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

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solar_dave
solar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,397 ✭✭✭✭

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  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    interesting concept, but i don't see it working out in general. many aren't home to cut back or will not wait for the renewable source of power to pick up again. and to allow the control in your home by the utility is something i would definitely oppose, but that's just me.

    you know i almost forgot in my running around lately that i saw a car with a hawaiian plate recently. they're a long way from home and that's a first for me to see. i saw an alaskan plate last year, but they could've drove here unlike any from hawaii.
  • stephendv
    stephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    Very interesting!

    What they're doing in Germany has some parallels with this, e.g. recently mandating that all grid tie inverters can reduce their output based on grid frequency- this at least gives the grid operators some control of over-production, but not over-consumption.

    With the right kind of economic incentives you won't need to allow the grid operator into your home to turn appliances off- instead you'd want to do this yourself because it pays to do so. E.g. from the article:

    "If it's a really hot day and our utility calls an alert where they want people to minimize consumption, if I turn down appliances in our home, then I can sell back more energy, which benefits me but also benefits them"
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    most people aren't home to do anything during the day and like i said a long string off days of poor or no production, well people just won't wait.
  • stephendv
    stephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    I wouldn't expect this system to be manual! It could all be done through grid frequency 59.5Hz means overdemand and prices go up, both the price to buy electricity from the utility and the price the utility pays for RE power. 60.5Hz means there's too much power available, prices go down.

    Within a month you'd have many devices available that will automatically turn your appliances on or off based on grid frequency, because there'd be a clear economic incentive to build and market such devices.

    If people aren't home and don't have an automated system, then they'll simply have to swallow the additional costs of leaving their hot water heaters on while they're away.
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    i don't think you're getting part of my point. say if it's been 3 days of no production from solar or wind and they cut you back for that 3 day period, i can guarantee that people will not tolerate waiting anymore for it to be turned back on. do you expect them to go to work dirty? power companies should never have the control.
  • stephendv
    stephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You
    niel wrote: »
    i don't think you're getting part of my point. say if it's been 3 days of no production from solar or wind and they cut you back for that 3 day period, i can guarantee that people will not tolerate waiting anymore for it to be turned back on. do you expect them to go to work dirty? power companies should never have the control.

    I'm not suggesting that they turn the power off, just that they increase the price. It's then the user's decision as to whether they turn appliances off to save some money, or keep using whatever they want, but pay more for it.
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    i'm not in favor of them raising prices either as that won't solve anything other than make the utility richer.
  • stephendv
    stephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You
    niel wrote: »
    i'm not in favor of them raising prices either as that won't solve anything other than make the utility richer.

    The other crucial piece is making grid power cheaper when there is a surplus. And also paying home owners more for power they inject into the grid with their RE installations if they do say during peak demand periods. I.e. when the grid charges consumers more, it also pays more to producers of RE power.
  • hfrik
    hfrik Registered Users Posts: 15
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You
    niel wrote: »
    i'm not in favor of them raising prices either as that won't solve anything other than make the utility richer.

    I don't think so. Why should prices of electricity be constant all the time? there is no reason for this. And in a time of renewable energy, the utility producing energy is mainly you and me and many many others. The up and down of prices is a neccesary reward for those storeing energy. Otherwise stroages - no matter of which kind - will not be built or kept running.
    Also only then the market can search for the optimum solution for everybody. Mabe some people prefere to have air conditioning on 26 °C instead of 18°C, or heating on 19°C instead of 23°C when electicity is expensive (so rare), while others like to have constant 21°C and are willing to pay what it costs. Nobodk (here) knows how many liters of latent storage a designer can include in furure fridges and freezers, allowing how many hours or days without electricity consumption (here in germany, cooling eats up 14% of toatal energy consumption, to give a number). So far here in germany, those who have new PV systems come along relatively nicely to move (automatically) dishwashing, washing machine or dryer to times when PV power is available - maybe this is so for everybody, maybe this is so because they are the first to adopt things and willing to behave accodingly. So price signals are the best methods to sort this out. If people do not like to react on actual power supply, prices will go up and down a lot, rewarding those who can store (if everything else does not work use power to gas),or solve it with bigger grids (PV Power from Tokyo kann fill up the PV power lack at night in germany, and vice versa), if people are more flexible, many things will not be neccesary, and prices will remain more constant and lower. And if somebody wants a constant rate, there shold be a tarif for those people, but in the average it will naturally be higher than the costs for flexible people.
    Constant tarifs only exist because in earlier times flexible tarifs have not been possible technically.
  • tons001
    tons001 Solar Expert Posts: 71 ✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    Not related to RE but they are already doing this to a certain degree in Chicago. ComEd offered a $5 month discount to put a wireless shut off on your AC condenser unit so they could shut it down remotely during times of peak need. The rules were something like turning it off for no more than 4 hours and not between certain hours in the evening. I decided that $5 was a laughable discount for giving them such control. I don't want a smart meter on my house and I don't want your wireless automatic shut off on my AC.
  • solar_dave
    solar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,397 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    I heard they are doing this in San Antonio, TX:
    With our utility, we're already using the solution mentioned with smart meters and network-attached controls for A/C, electric water heaters and pool pumps on a system called Home Manager. Although our home (and our utility company along with coal, biomass and several other sources) uses NatGas to heat water and our pool pump is too large for their module, I participate in it and love it. I'm also a solar customer and benefit as the person states. The missing piece for us is a residential ToU plan for car charging/energy storage. Our utility has invested heavily in Solar of their own and participate in West Texas wind farm generation.
  • hfrik
    hfrik Registered Users Posts: 15
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    well shuttion off anything reotely in private houses is completely unaccepted and out of discussion here in germany. But reacting on price signals is a copletely other thing. It's your private decision then if you want air conditiononing with 10ct/kWh and not higher, or if you also want it on the same level as always for 50ct/kWh. Or if you want to heatyour swiming pool at 2ct/kWh, or let the freezer work in advance in such cases, down to -30°C. Especially in the heating/cooling market it is easy to add thermal storage capacity if the market is given enough time to react. So far there is no such market, and so there are no products.
  • tons001
    tons001 Solar Expert Posts: 71 ✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    I am one of those paranoid idiots that truly believe that "smart meters" have very little or nothing to do with electricity...... :roll:
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You
    tons001 wrote: »
    Not related to RE but they are already doing this to a certain degree in Chicago. ComEd offered a $5 month discount to put a wireless shut off on your AC condenser unit so they could shut it down remotely during times of peak need. The rules were something like turning it off for no more than 4 hours and not between certain hours in the evening. I decided that $5 was a laughable discount for giving them such control. I don't want a smart meter on my house and I don't want your wireless automatic shut off on my AC.

    that is laughable as i can save more than that in one day by telling my wife to go visit someone in her family for the day.:p
  • solarix
    solarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    You wouldn't believe the resistance around here to smart meters, utility access, loss of privacy, and change in general. It will take some kind of big impetus to implement the smart grid. NPR is dreaming.
  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    Funny how people who complain about smart meters never mention the real problem: their purpose is to make more profit for the utility by eliminating meter-readers and allowing TOU billing.

    We were supposed to get ours here "by July 31". Hasn't showed up yet.
  • tons001
    tons001 Solar Expert Posts: 71 ✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You
    Funny how people who complain about smart meters never mention the real problem: their purpose is to make more profit for the utility by eliminating meter-readers and allowing TOU billing.

    We were supposed to get ours here "by July 31". Hasn't showed up yet.

    Not really complaining and it is shameful what companies do in the name of profit. I would agree with you if the electric companies and not the United States Department of Energy were funding their roll out or perhaps I am misinformed. I don't need the NSA tracking the times I take a leak at night because I turned on a light at 3:00am..... LOL.
  • Cariboocoot
    Cariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You
    tons001 wrote: »
    Not really complaining and it is shameful what companies do in the name of profit. I would agree with you if the electric companies and not the United States Department of Energy were funding their roll out or perhaps I am misinformed. I don't need the NSA tracking the times I take a leak at night because I turned on a light at 3:00am..... LOL.

    You know why people are paranoid about things like that? It's because they subconsciously realize that they are not at all important and so they invent circumstances where some authority takes an interest in them to elevate their self-esteem.

    Okay I'll stop myself now. It's bad enough having to teach electricity 101 and physics 101 and occasionally English 101 without adding psychology 101 to the curriculum. :p:D
  • tons001
    tons001 Solar Expert Posts: 71 ✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You
    You know why people are paranoid about things like that? It's because they subconsciously realize that they are not at all important and so they invent circumstances where some authority takes an interest in them to elevate their self-esteem.

    Okay I'll stop myself now. It's bad enough having to teach electricity 101 and physics 101 and occasionally English 101 without adding psychology 101 to the curriculum. :p:D

    LOL. Fair enough.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    California has had the remote load control option for years.

    A few months ago, I read where there was some sort of (software?) bug that turned off the Air Conditioners for a bunch of people for a day or two (can't find the article right now) instead of the 15-30 minutes it should have.

    California is intending to implement a system where they will give you 23 hour notice on the price of power (probably for several different periods during the day) for the next day (email, text message, etc.).

    They did this (no long term energy contracts, just "spot market pricing" on the utility level back 13+ years ago with our utilities and energy suppliers--And it crashed and burned big time (remember Enron and all?) with (a few) blackouts and $25 Billion in "excessive" charges by power producers that we now have a 40 year state brokered loan to pay for that "summer of power".

    Where could this possibly go wrong? (or probably a better way of looking at it--Where could this system possibly go right?).

    Just because you are paranoid, it does not mean that they are not still out to get you.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • RandomJoe
    RandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You
    tons001 wrote: »
    Not related to RE but they are already doing this to a certain degree in Chicago. ComEd offered a $5 month discount to put a wireless shut off on your AC condenser unit so they could shut it down remotely during times of peak need. The rules were something like turning it off for no more than 4 hours and not between certain hours in the evening. I decided that $5 was a laughable discount for giving them such control. I don't want a smart meter on my house and I don't want your wireless automatic shut off on my AC.

    The utility here offered a slightly cruder version of this many years ago (my early teens, iirc, so 25-30 years ago - wow... ;) ), it was set up to shut down the compressor 15 minutes out of every hour anytime the outside air temp was above (don't remember the details anymore) 95F I think. Very few bothered with them, and those had them disconnected fairly quickly. Since the utility at the time didn't have a way to remotely monitor that the device was working, a lot of people left the box unwired but attached to the condensing unit so they'd still get the credit even though they weren't using it!

    I'd never go for a straight "remote kill" switch, but something that could let me know "hey, we'd like it if you could reduce load" then I decide what and for how long would be fine. I have that in a coarse (daily) way now - I'm on TOU in the summer, they let me know by 5PM what the next day's peak rate is. Rarely, if things are really bad, they'll issue a "critical event" but still give several hours notice. In exchange I get dirt cheap off-peak kWhs. (Normal rate for everyone else is 9c/kWh 24x7, I get off-peak 4.5c/kWh and 2-7PM weekdays it varies over 4.5c (never!), 9c (normal rate - fairly often this year), 20c ("high" rate, most common) or 44c ("critical" rate, 2-3 times this summer). Not that I care what the peak rate is since I'm off-grid and shut most everything else down! :) I typically pay for 1-2 kWh/month "on peak"! (Can't be bothered to rearrange the remaining parasitic loads...)

    I'm ambivalent on the smart meters. I understand the concerns about them, on the other hand I think they are (or at least can be) a good idea for the utilities and customers alike. I like that I don't have to report outages - the utility knows immediately (or at least within 15 minutes) exactly who lost power. I get a nice website that lets me look at my usage in 15 minute increments, handy for keeping an occasional watch to make sure I've not forgotten and left some power-user plugged into a grid-only outlet or just to see where/when my largest use is. The resolution is fine enough to see a single CFL bulb switched on / off!

    As for going grid-tie, there's a LONG way to go before I'd bother with that here. Absolutely no incentive to do so, between cheap power and (last I looked a few years ago) almost no way to come out ahead between the added fees on the utility bill and no way to be paid for excess kWhs. (Can only offset my used kWhs to zero.) I'd still have the battery bank, since I want the backup capacity so I might as well switch off-grid each day and know it's still in working order!
  • westbranch
    westbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    Bill. funny you should bring that issue up:

    Feb 22, 2013 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-hydro-transalta-owe-california-millions-us-judge-rules/article8944884/


    be sure to read to the end then try to decide where you stand on/about Enron and the free market vis a vis the "electricity (monopoly) utilities"

    It will probably make another bunch of lawyers rich over the next2 decades as I see it...
     
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  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,479 admin
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    Aw yea--Regulating/going to court about the spot market over a decade after the trades... That will turn out well for my grand children--If we ever have any--And if they are still in the state by then.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You

    i guess they found all that extra $ at the end of a rainbow.:roll:
  • hfrik
    hfrik Registered Users Posts: 15
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    Re: The Grid Of The Future Could Be Brought To You By ... You
    tons001 wrote: »
    Not really complaining and it is shameful what companies do in the name of profit. I would agree with you if the electric companies and not the United States Department of Energy were funding their roll out or perhaps I am misinformed. I don't need the NSA tracking the times I take a leak at night because I turned on a light at 3:00am..... LOL.

    Well, for this points peple here, especially the BSI (Budesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechik - Federal office for safety and security in the information technlology). The BSI's main task is to make sure, that and how usual citicens in germany can protect themselves from guys like the NSA - I do not know if something similar exists in the U.S.

    The result is that a smart meter which is allowed to be used in germany must be implemented as a kind of gateway, with some functions on which the user but not the utility has access, some functions on which the utility but not the user has access, and some on which both have access.

    Detailed information about the consumption over time is e.g. just for the user, not for the utility, as well as some other functionalities e.g. to swich on and off equipment which might be integrated on the smart meter. Summary consumption is for the access of both parts, also (if implemented) totall costs over e.g. months. Exclusive access by the utility is e.g. the functionality to switch off power if there are too many unpayed bills, and e.g. - if implemented - the upload of price informations and times for these tariffs.
    Software of the smart meters is checked by the BSI before it's allowed to be used in the field. So the NSA should have a hard time to get the data of tons001 as mentioned above in germany :)