Chase on Smart Energy

Dave Chase's observations of developments and opportunities in the emerging Smart Energy field.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Smart Grid report from Climate Solutions

This report (PDF) is getting great response and press coverage. I was one of a broad group of contributors/reviewers that represented a cross section of utility, venture, government, political and environmental leaders. It's well worth reading and a great example of the work that Climate Solutions (a non-profit economic development organization) is doing.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Smart Grid Technology Timeline

As a tech industry guy, Jesse Berst (head of the Center for Smart Energy) does a nice job of drawing parallels that I understand between technology adoption in the PC and Internet industries with what’s likely to happen in the Smart Grid arena. As he states, “The Smart Grid is likely to pass through eight phases. Or, to put it another way, eight key Smart Grid sectors are likely to hit their tipping points one after another, in roughly the order shown below.” He goes into detail on the following 8 stages of development in this article:

1. Sensors – detecting the data.

2. Communications – moving the data.

3. First-level integration – collecting the data.

4. Centralized control – using the data for visualization and control.

5. Security – protecting the data.

6. Full integration – integrating the data with the rest of the business.

7. Services and applications – using the data in new ways

8. Full automation and optimization – using the data to let the grid “run itself.”

Why the Power and Telephone industries should work together

Steven R. Rivkin is a Washington, DC telecommunications and energy lawyer who has long advocated common initiatives between electric and telecommunications providers. In this article, he lays out the case why these two industries should work together. Here’s an excerpt of the article:

Power and telco, the two legacy infrastructures, can help each other, exchanging services for capital. Though utilities seldom outsource mission-critical facilities or functions, their other connectivity choices are technically and economically inferior. Wireless, satellite, broadband powerline (BPL), etc. are not sufficiently reliable, versatile, cheap, and ubiquitous. And most utilities are clueless about how to cope with the expense and excess bandwidth if they were to try to run fiber to every house themselves.

But telcos could choose to host the Smart Grid for utilities, gaining much needed revenue and even capital investments for making critical telecommunications available in fortuitously adjacent facilities. Moreover, telcos could also benefit politically from allying with another local utility to deliver digital data with huge public benefits, rather than just packages of video entertainment that invite local franchise fees comparable to those on cable television.