1. How do smart grids differ from current electricity infrastructure in the United States? Current electricity infrastructure in the United States is dated. It does not track how customers use their energy, making it difficult to come with up with distribution alternatives. A smart grid uses digital technology. This smart grid allows customers to see how much energy they are using at any given time for better management of electricity use. The further reduction of energy consumption saves electricity and reduces carbon emissions. The smart grids can also detect power outages sooner than the current infrastructure, resulting in a quicker response and restoration of service.
2. What management, organization, and technology issues should be considered when developing a smart grid? Management Issues – Making sure they have enough qualified staff. Determine if it is the right decision for everyone involved. Organization Issues – How will a smart grid fit into the values and core beliefs of the organization? Technology Issues – Determine what software and hardware will be used. Determine who will manage the technology.
3. What challenge to the development of smart grids do you think is most likely to hamper their development? Cost is going to be the biggest hamper to the development of smart grids. For energy companies to install the cable needed, is expensive and it needs to go to every location using electricity. The cost to consumers could become expensive to begin with and they would have to put the time into learning the system. In addition, the example with the Petersons’ used a hybrid plug-in vehicle. Although, it contributed to their one-third savings it is something not everyone can afford to purchase or want to purchase.
4. What other areas of our infrastructure could benefit from “smart” technologies? Describe one example not listed in the case. Water departments could benefit from smart technologies. They already use a system that has saved money on labor. Previously, employees would walk from one house to another to read the meters. Now, it is done by driving down a street with a laptop in the vehicle and the computer reads the meter as the vehicle passes.
Employees can see on the laptop which residences were read and if there are any that need maintenance. However, if they had a system similar to the smart grid it would allow water companies and consumers to monitor water usage. For instance, the water companies could make sure that people do not water during the heat of the day and more often than is allowed each week. In addition, consumers could see how much water they are consuming on a daily basis and decide if reduction measures need to be taken. It would also help with detecting leaks and other maintenance issues.
5. Would you like your home and your community to be part of a smart grid? Why or Why not? Explain. No, I would not like to be part of a smart grid community. The benefits include knowing how much energy you are consuming and the opportunity to lower carbon emissions into the atmosphere. However, the cost to start the program would be expensive. I would not want to put the money out initially for the meter box to be installed in my home. I do not need another form of technology in my home to figure out, that needs batteries replaced, and more opportunities for hackers to collect my personal information. In addition, I would not want Xcel to monitor my appliances, heating, or air-conditioning systems.