On March 17, 2009 at SAP in Palo Alto, SDForum, and Astia started the fourth year of the Clean Tech Breakfast Series with the topic “Standing at the Edge of the Grid”. It was a sold out standing room only crowd to learn about smart grid issues like monitoring, metering, compliance and energy efficiency technologies. Text from DJCline.com
Scott Bolick of SAP moderated panelists Roland Acra of ArchRock, Matthew Denesuk of IBM, Gerd Goette of Siemens Ventures, Ron Lloyd of FatSpaniel Technologies, and Laurie Yoler of GrowthPoint Technology Partners. Text from DJCline.com
A smart grid is a power grid using digital technology to efficiently get electricity to customers. Producers and consumers get real time information on usage and then use that data to manage the load. Hopefully it will be cleaner and more affordable without affecting the quality of life. A smart grid has sensors connected to communicators passing data to analyzers, which help users decide what do. The question is who does this analysis controlling the grid? Utilities? Consumers? Independent alternative energy producers? Text from DJCline.com
With utilities, telecom may be another metaphor. The old grid is a network with historically few providers in a regulated space. Over time more players enter the game and change it. Even if there were no new producers, the sheer increase in power demand will drive utilities to adopt smart grid technology. Text from DJCline.com
Consumers could set a smart meter the most energy efficient setting depending on their usage. Getting real time feedback on usage does drive behavior. Connecting this information to the Internet allows users to monitor usage even when they are not at home or as they move about their business. They challenge is adopting the best technology as an industry standard to reduce production and roll out costs. Text from DJCline.com
Independent alternative energy producers could be utilities, startups or even the consumers themselves. Having millions of producers instead of hundreds cries out for load management information technology. You do not want to have to reboot your house if the network/grid goes down. To insure robustness each node on a smart grid could be like a computer on the Internet with its own IP address regardless of the vintage or platform of the energy device. Text from DJCline.com
What are the challenges of smart grid? All you have to do is solve standards, define devices, get demand response planning, open utilities companies and handle low power transmission. Less than five percent of homes have smart metering and the growth is projected at only twenty-two percent per year going ahead. If you can speed up this process, you have a business opportunity. Silicon Valley is the perfect place to develop and test smart grid technology on a small scale. What works will be adopted. The smart grid may come from the grass roots rather than the top down. Text from DJCline.com
Copyright 2009 DJ Cline All rights reserved.