For some interesting perspective on smart grid, as well as a discussion of alternative energy, I suggest you check out the recent webcast I did with Brian MacCleery of National Instruments. It's about half an hour long and comes with an interesting, downloadable PowerPoint. It's located here.
In Washington State, wind farm owners are getting shafted by the power companies. They invested a LOT of money to build their generating capacity. This year, there is an abundance of water for hydro generation. As a result, the power companies are asking the wind farms to CUT production (as in, CUT their revenues).
There's a long way to go, and with business ethics such as this, the road seems even longer.
Great observations, ivank2139. An important push can come from consumers and small-scale generators, operating from the bottom up, but utilities often have reasons for dragging feet on top-down planning. Let's hope DoE, EPRI, and regional utility company coalitions can overcome that reticence.
This is an area of innovation that will be part of our infrastructure for a long time. I would be pleased to hear the California initiatives of the big three become part of a National Energy Plan.
From my point of view as a consumer, I am willing to do quite a bit to drive this smart grid from the bottom up. Showing the consumer how to save money and be an efficient part of this infrastructure will help a lot.
Making local information available to utilities would help them provide more efficient services so they surely are interested in being part of the solution. What I have noticed though is they don't want to sell the consumer less power.
It is up to the consumer to be as efficient in the usage of the power. For that we need detailed information on appliances using power and on making that usage efficient.
I would like to see good cooperation from the utilities when the consumer is able to supply excess power from on site generation. This is good for the entire system but since it decreases the revenues to the utilities their interest in this is limited.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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