I read an interesting article about CPS, security and the national power grid. One of the concerns in the article was a Cyber attack on the power grid. Interesting I will admit and the article was well written but I wonder. The concept of Microgrids allows for the creation of a series of smaller grids within the power system so that any one problem won’t take out entire areas. A collection of homes with solar power could represent a Microgrid. Someday there will be neighbors that include solar as part of every home with a central store of batteries for all to consume when solar panels don’t work as well (it was a dark and stormy night. My solar system was producing nothing. My candle had burned to nub and my laptop was nearly out of charge.)
Power moves via power lines. The weakness in any system is the transportation. The correlation between the length of a supply lines and the ability of an army to move quickly are well documented.
So in the new model of Transactive Energy we have many producers of energy than existed previously. In theory every home could be a producer.
This makes the rise of smart devices that much more critical. Devices that know they shouldn’t be on. That know they shouldn’t be consuming power.
The first smart device everyone points to is the watch. Be it Samsung, Apple or my favorite the Pebble, smart watches are in fact smart devices. We could argue however that they don’t do one of the most important part of smart devices. They aren’t particularly good at conserving power. Both on the phone and the watch itself.
Power conversation is a critical piece of smart deceives. Not just knowing that it can operate off its battery, but knowing for how long. Knowing that power is most expensive at certain times of the day. let’s say for kicks and giggles that it is 9 am, 12 noon and 5 pm where you live that are the peak use periods. Even if your devices are plugged in, don’t charge or pull power during the times listed. This means for devices that need to be on for convince (coffee pot in the morning for example) they need to be able to operate intelligently on a battery and live system.
Your new electric car, so pretty in the driveway and congrats for cutting your carbon footprint, is another problem. You get home work in the winter after it is dark. So you home solar system isn’t going to be able to produce enough power to cook dinner and change your car. That is a drain and it costs you more money. So instead you have a battery that takes 8 hours to change your car. The battery changes all day, and you plug you car into the battery rather than your home power supply.
Going forward your home will be your private cloud. It will also serve as part of your Microgrid. The size of your Microgrid will be determined by how well you get along with your neighbors.
Wandering the world of Microgrids…