@David Ashton: thanks for the story... hacksaw thru a 240V AC conduit and you are still around to tell us about it!! LOL...
Seriously, back to the article, there are many points in Khosla's arguments that I agree with. In particular, his challenging the deterministic treatment of the smart grid networks, is something that many of us have discussed in various forums (like IEEE P2030 committee, NIST Smart Grid standards, etc). With distributed power generation and consumption points, the response of such a network can not be inherently deterministic. The reliability and security of it is another problem.
I do believe there are opportunities in multi-tenant dwellings and commercial buildings where numbers quickly add up for potential energy savings by tracking and monitoring usage. For the cost of what is takes to install these energy saving gadgets, I just don't see a market for most single family homes.
AGREE WHOLLY THOUGH COMMENT ABOUT ELECTROMAGNETIC EQUIPMENT MAY NOT BE APPLICABLE IN THIS CONTEXT.SYSTEM CONTROL MAY BE DONE BETTER WITH FAST ELECTRONICS & ULTRA FAST SWITCHGEAR OPERATION KEEPING IN MIND THE INERTIA OF OPERATIVE SYSTEMS.
Yes, the power companies make money selling power. But as new2coding stated, load leveling can improve their return on investment.
By shifting 20% of the power load from the near-capacity day time to the lots-of-excess-capacity night time, the power companies can sell more power with the same amount of infrastructure. That equals more money without adding expensive capacity.
The smart grid, in theory, would also give the power companies greater flexibility in setting pricing based on the specific time, and possibly even on the specific usage. That flexibility would allow price tweaking to improve the financial model even further.
As I like to say "there are features you can use and there are features you can sell." The power companies likely are eager for the smart grid primarily for the profit-oriented features such as load leveling and greater pricing flexibility. They present it to the public as a green thing, because "green" sells much better than "we can make more money." There are (potentially) green benefits, but that doesn't mean that green is why the power companies are in favor of smart grid.
Poor venture capitalist. More money than knowledge. 50 year old transformer with copper wound around a "ferrite core"! Indeed! Why is Rick interviewing someone who knows absolutely nothing about the power generation and distribution network?
Not only that, but basic economics works like this - THE POWER COMPANIES MAKE MONEY SELLING POWER!!!!!! They would be stupid beyond belief to reduce power consumption. The way to gain a further margin of PROFIT is to have consumers level the loads for them.
How can people in this country have so little understanding of economics and technology?
I think the term "Smart Grid" is not really defined well up to now. Everybody picks whatever he likes or dislikes.
Basically I would think it is a combination of all the things these intelligent meters can do starting with new pricing schemes and not ending with the option to control appliances. However the latter may just be a result of the pricing schemes, you may want to have a controllable AC or fridge that waits until the prices are down if the heat is not getting to hard.
In the long run these technologies will just come as it will not be possible to continue burning oil or coal to produce electricity any time. The price for these energy sources will be rising in the (near) future and alternatives such as wind or solar are simply not available all the time.
So instead of thinking about building huge energy storages it may just be better to control the times the energy is actually used and mach it better to the time the energy is produced.
I left out one other concept of "Smart Grid": the idea that it should be a mechanism whereby millions of consumers can force an electric utility to TAKE power from them whenever their windmills (solar cells, treadmills, or whatever) feel like generating it. This is a terrible idea which does absolutely nothing but push costs WAY UP and reliability DOWN. This idea is simply a scheme whereby certain people get to implement a small piece of an electric utility and escape the true costs....which include the distribution and regulation system, the billing, maintenance, and the facilities management...and pawn all of these costs off onto taxpayers and utility customers...and yet keep revenue for themselves. In addition, these folks want legislatively-created equivalence between the economically-produced classical utility power and their own grossly-expensive power. This will result in huge increases in power rates in order to provide transfer payments to these: the most inefficient producers.
This particular conceptual framework of "Smart Grid" needs to be stamped out.
To the extent that "Smart Grid" means "Central Control of power usage," the entire concept is simply an assault on Liberty and doomed to failure. In this context, "Central" and "Smart" are incompatible. Would you like your oxygen machine or your IV regulator to be controlled by the equivalent of the DMV from a distant city? How about having to argue with Utility Tech Support in India when your lights or A/C is suddenly cut off? I don't think so!! The Central Control model is also an anti-progress model, because it will not (cannot) anticipate future needs and/or technologies: it will therefore be a major impediment to any kind of change.
We will all be much better off if the concept of "Smart Grid" is restricted to the "Instantaneous-Response Provisioning of Rapidly Changing Uncontrollable Distributed Demand": in other words, the elimination of 'brown-outs' and 'black-outs'. This is something which will actually be a benefit to everyone. It should be the grid's job to supply whatever I want whenever I want it!!!
It's all a question of who's in charge.