On The Grid

The Dept. of Energy provides a really concise explanation of our electric power system at Electricity 101.

The US electric system is not one grid, but several.  And none of them are particularly intelligent.  Our service providers can never be certain about when you are going to turn on stove or start washing dishes.  And yet, to keep the system stable operators must constantly match the electric supply to our electric demand.

So at first glance, adding a million cars demanding electric fuel doesn’t look like a good idea, until you consider this:  each car is also a source of electricity storage, in the form of mobile batteries.  We can use that capacity to store wind-generated power, and supply it as needed – but only if we make our power grid much smarter.

We need sensors and data networks that can communicate swiftly and accurately with power transmission controllers.  The concept of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) integration has been examined and tested for many years.  The National Renewable Energy Labs (DOE) believes that will make it possible to vastly expand our wind generation capacity.

In passing the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) Congress recognized that the time has come to start building the “smart grid.”  Detailed information on these topics is available at: