With thousands of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) slated to hit the roads before 2015, many are growing concerned that even the weightiest of smart grids will be pushed past their limits. Such a worry calls for a redesigned smart grid, one that the U.S. Department of Energy knows will need to be better suited to handling America’s energy needs.
Enter a band of scientists from Argonne National Laboratory who are already hard at work developing a literal smart grid capable of real-time adaptation to energy needs and cheaper, more efficient operation than the current model. According to a release issued by Argonne, the proposed smart grid would see PHEVs and appliances connected to a central nexus that monitors electricity usage. The central hub would communicate with energy suppliers, and the appliances and grid would also communicate in an effort to efficiently distribute power. All communication would be monitored in real-time, which means “more utilities could vary the price of power by time of day and create incentives for consumers to use electricity at certain times.”
The smart grid would also allow consumers to manage their bills. During peak usage times when costs are higher, appliances could be set to run during times when the cost would be cheaper. Consumers could also pay a clean energy premium to utilize solar and wind power. Power stockpiled from renewable resources could be distributed into the grid at peak times to ease the burden of high usage.
Enjoying EarthTechling? Vote for us as Best Sci-Tech Blog (scroll down to fourth category) in the TreeHugger Best of Green Awards! Thanks!