« Why I Failed As Highwinds SecDir | Main | RSA 2011: (dis)Innovation Sandbox »

Forget SmartGrid, Micro-Generation Is the Future

A very brief post here... on a topic I've mentioned to people in the past, but have never put into writing. Really, this is as much an incomplete thought as anything else...

Yes, SmartGrid technology will be needed in the future, but I'm gravely concerned that we're investing in the wrong technologies today. All the talk and focus is on how it will help improve the electric grid, but it does little to address one fundamental problem: it still relies on the fundamentally flawed premise of central power generation and long-haul distribution.

Instead of investing in SmartGrid, I strongly believe we should be heavily investing in micro-generation. Micro-generation is the deployment of localized power generators (on a small scale) that are designed to service a single facility or location. The interesting thing about micro-generation is that implementation means reducing the overall load on the power grid while also undermining "critical infrastructure" concerns.

For the power companies, micro-generation also represents a new and very interesting opportunity for new revenue. And, incidentally, this would (today, anyway) likely be revenue that is outside most of the heavy regulations. True, new rules would be inevitable, but overall the impact would be highly positive.

Imagine if every commercial facility had its own power generation. The peak daytime load would then be greatly lowered on the grid. And, if engineered well, this approach could also help improve generation capabilities and overall grid capacity and stability by having companies sell-back their excess energy (if they so desired), particularly at night during off-peak hours.

If you remove reliance on power distribution, then many safety and security issues go away. For example, major snow+ice storms would no longer take out most commercial sites through downed power lines, which would in turn allow power companies to focus on restoring service to "legacy" customers (such as residential neighborhoods). However, also potentially interesting is the idea that neighborhoods (e.g., HOAs) could band together and setup their own micro-generation capabilities for a neighborhood.

Also, couple this with the current move from AC to DC power and you can start seeing a future where SmartGrid itself is less important. Oh how I wish that the political entities would wake up and smell the ozone on this topic...


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a comment


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 11, 2011 9:52 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Why I Failed As Highwinds SecDir.

The next post in this blog is RSA 2011: (dis)Innovation Sandbox.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.