Opinion: Toronto's smart grid is growing new green buds.
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Toronto announced a new green project for energy storage. This is a new design concept and it will be interesting to see how well it performs, or even if makes it to the finish line. I hope it does. The old mathematics and energy grid controls systems cannot compete with a modern smart grid on energy use and reliability. The cost of Toronto's blackout added up, but it was also fun.
Energy storage is an important green foundation for the future smart grid. Our future energy grids need to innovate. Initial findings in the IBM Smart grid pilot in Toronto demonstrates that smart grids reduce energy waste and boost local grid security. Smart grids also enable energy farmers to generate and deliver their own energy while the energy grid is optimized for local capacity. When we do the math, we find that a smart grid architecture is the green tool for the job. Of course the energy piggies doth oinketh, the biggest wasters are the biggest losers - Darwin winked.
Energy storage has always been a challenge because these devices are expensive and serve a small market. Manufacturing uses energy storage systems since some operations exceed megawatt class requirements. Waste costs money, they get it.
Recently Elon Musk announced the Tesla's Powerwall Home Battery energy storage system. He gets it. Now energy farmers can leverage their solar and/or wind and/or thermoelectric and/or home compact fusion and/or tidal by storing and selling at higher market prices. This will lead to even more green!
In the past, utilities ran extra generation capacity to balance the grid load demands. Utilities would “idle” generation in order to provide instant power if the power grid needed it. It is like a balancing game between unpredictable requirements and predictable delivery. When a girl turns a light on, or off, this imbalance would be managed, ensuring balance was kept. This power engineering is critical or our energy grids, otherwise they wouldn't work. Extra energy capacity is a waste. Smart grids do a better job.
Toronto is getting a new green addition. This is a new technology that stores electrical energy using compressed air. Big underwater balloons will help smooth the ripples in our local smart grid to help keep it in energy balance. Unlike chemical energy storage systems and most mechanical energy storage systems, this device takes a creative design approach. I have been watching it grow and looking forward to seeing how this technology performs. Will Darwin wink?
The future energy grid will have many inputs and local demands. With the innovation in home battery systems and green energy, the cost of energy will become more competitive and help reduce energy costs. Texas wind farms are giving away free energy? A hint of green things to come!