In February 2012, 99 "discrete series reactors" were installed on the Tennessee Valley Authority 161 kilowatt transmissions lines east of Knoxville according to news reports. They were part of an experiment to see whether a "Smart Wire Grid" (Oakland) could divert current from overloaded lines to under-utilized lines. If so, the power grid was expected to be able to work at a higher efficiency and better adapt to distributed power users and providers. The Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Administration (ARPA-E) sponsored project went live a year and a half ago. Have there been any results or insights gained? These man portable distributed devices certainly look a lot smaller and practical than the massive "shunt reactor" that I saw moved through and installed in western Connecticut 2 years ago. Overall, how are the electric companies doing in this space?
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.