SNS: Special Letter: Making the Smart Grid Smarter

SNS: Special Letter: Making the Smart Grid Smarter


Volume 12, Issue 41
Week of December 7, 2009

In This Issue

Feature: Making The Smart Grid Smarter

  • Unique Capabilities and Value of HVDC Light Technology
  • “Black Start” Capabilities of HVDC Light
  • “Virtual Generation” and Wind Power
  • Summary
  • About Paul Manson


Publisher’s Note: Although I had spent a couple of years reading about and hosting high-level discussions on Smart Grids, it was only after I met Paul Manson that I came to understand one of the deepest problems in moving from today’s power grids to tomorrow’s smart grids.  Most people think of smart grids in terms of use: put smart meters in peopleís homes (a great idea on its own merits), link them to a responsive grid, and save money.

There are bigger problems.

Clearly, today’s topology is from one big plant to many users, whereas tomorrow’s will be from a larger number of smaller suppliers to many users. But what I did not realize is that todayís grids are not physically capable of the fast switching necessary for linking high-variability supplies together.

Since Paul’s business depends upon being attached to just such a grid, he has learned about a new kind of line and switch which open the door to tomorrow’s source topology. Now you, too, will understand what is really needed when someone talks about building out not just any smart grid, but the smart grid we’re all thinking of, with lots of smaller, variable-output devices creating energy on the front end, from wind turbines to solar arrays to tidal turbines.  — mra.

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