Why a Smart Grid

There is a new reason to like the “smart” grid.

Its advocates have long talked up the energy-saving opportunities. Upgrading U.S. electricity transmission all along the wires with the capability to better manage the flow of power through information technology will make innovations like demand response and field intelligence possible. It will also increase the power system’s capacity to manage the coming plug-in vehicle revolution.

The Smart Grid: An Estimation of the Energy and CO2 Benefits, from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), documents how those innovations and the energy savings they allow mean significant greenhouse gas emissions (GhG) reductions. The PNNL report finds a smart grid will cut GhGs at least 12% by 2030.

The paper investigates 9 mechanisms in the generation and delivery of electricity through which a smart grid could impact energy consumption and GhGs. A smart grid, it shows, will have both direct and indirect impacts on emissions. New technologies will increase control of the flow of power and increase efficient energy use in businesses and homes. These will directly reduce the consumption of energy and, therefore, the emissions produced from it. Smart technology will indirectly cut emissions by making the use of more emissions-free New Energy possible by more readily integrating New Energy into the transmission system in a variety of different ways. ::continue::

From Xcel Energy. (click to enlarge)

The 9 mechanisms:

(1) Conservation Effect of Consumer Information and Feedback Systems

(2) Joint Marketing of Energy Efficiency and Demand Response Programs

(3) Deployment of Diagnostics in Residential and Small/Medium Commercial Buildings

(4) Measurement & Verification (M&V) for Energy Efficiency Programs

(5) Shifting Load to More Efficient Generation

(6) Support Additional Electric Vehicles and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles

(7) Conservation Voltage Reduction and Advanced Voltage Control

(8) Support Penetration of Renewable Solar Generation (25% renewable portfolio standard [RPS])

(9) Support Penetration of Renewable Wind Generation (25% renewable portfolio standard [RPS])

The PNNL study is one of the first to bring together the fields of emissions research and smart grid research. It demonstrates that such a combined approach warrants further development by smart grid investors and utilities.

click to enlarge

This post is based on Smart grid could reduce emissions by 12 percent, January 29, 2010, PhysOrg.com

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