Smart Grids, a Window into the Future??

The word smart makes you think of computers, phones, TV and homes. But a smart grid? Smart grids control energy usage a smart grid is a computerized grid that is managed by computers instead of people. These computers will have access to every valve and every monitor that is connected to the grid. When it realizes that part of the grid is not being used it can turn it off, saving huge amounts of energy. Not just that but it can be used to completely switch our energy sources to renewable instead of coal and oil. Since renewable sources are spread out across the country we will always have energy. If the sun is not shining in Tallahassee then we can harness the waves off the coast of Tampa and trasport some of the energy to Tallahassee using a smart grid. The grid would realize that the sun is not shining in Tallahassee and would search for another source of energy to hook the Tallahassee electric lines to. That is why smart grids are so efective.

One of the big debates over this issue is that if  United States implements smart grids  “Will they actually save energy?” In August of 2012 the state of Vermont implicated their own state-wide smart grid, so far it has yielded results, the predictions are that over the period of a year Vermont’s emissions will be reduced by fifteen percent! This is without incorporating new levels of renewable energy. The power could be in our grasp to create energy independence, and reduce our countries emissions by sixty percent

Smart grids are complex systems, most of the time complex systems can be good, but the more complicated you make a system the more openings a hacker could have. Since the system would be completely operated by computers, the system could entirely be shut down if a virus gets into the main system. Several other ideas have been floated around, ways to stop this nightmare scenario from happening; one of the ideas is to localize the grids by regions. Like the Pacific Northwest would have their own grid, and the southern are around Georgia would get their own grid as well. Switching like this is hard and risky, but it is also risky if we keep the system the way it is, falling apart piece by piece, the trick is to take the right risks to insure safety to all the people who live here.

One other big problem is money, for the individual project in Vermont it took sixty-nine million dollars to accomplish just switching over the technologies, from a basic system to a computerized one. The money was just for one state and a relatively small one at that.  For a state the size of Texas it would take around one thousand nine hundred twenty seven millions of dollars. Right now we are recovering from a recession and don’t have the money to completely change over the grid but we should start in small increments using a combination of federal and state stimulus. In a few years we could start to work our way towards having zero carbon emissions.


4 responses to “Smart Grids, a Window into the Future??”

  1. johns0117 says :

    I really liked your post. I did not know what smart grids are before I read it, but I think that they sound pretty effective and eco-friendly. I agree with you on the fact that they are very risky, due to the fact that they are run only by computer, and on the fact that because they are very expensive, we cannot start to manufacture more of them now. First we have to work to get our economy up and running again, which will probably take a lot of work and time. I think that smart-grids are a good idea for the future, but not for the present.

    • isabellat0017 says :

      John, thanks for commenting on my post, smart grids are incredibly eco friendly because they are more efficient, and as I pointed out in my post allow us to use renewable energy sources efficiently, but I disagree with you on the point of money. We can start to computerize states one at a time, smaller states right now and when we have more money we can move on to larger ones. You have to spend money to make money

  2. benb0017 says :

    I think that you bring up an excellent topic in this post, and you cover it well. Smart grids are much more efficient, and can significantly help our lower our country’s carbon emissions. They are also incredibly expensive. However, what you failed to mention was that because the grids are managed by computers instead of humans, while it would be more efficient, there would be a pretty large number of unemployments, which is another reason it wouldn’t be good to use in our shaky economy. Anyways, excellent post.

  3. kmlewis1234567890 says :

    This would be a really cool thing to have in our state. I think that if the economy was better, or we could just wait until it does get better, then we could slowly, state by state, implement the system and it would eventually pay for itself in the long run.

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