Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NATIONAL ENERGY AWARENESS MONTH - The Smart Grid Benefits Your Family: Part 2

This is the second in a 3-part series on the smart grid.  What it is and what it means for your family. 

Yesterday we talked about smart grid basics.  Today we're going to list some of the benefits for your family.

  • Breathe easier: With more renewable energy being used and less use of polluting coal and oil, we can expect cleaner air.
  • Cha-ching!  Cha-ching!: If you are able to install solar, wind, or geothermal power generation at your home and integrate it into your power usage through smart grid technology, then there may be the opportunity to also sell any extra power that you generate back to your utility.  You would also be able to view your power usage in real time online to adjust and program your usage to possibly save money.
  • Avoid pump sticker shock: As PHEV cars – Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles – start to rollout in the coming years, the forecast is that you would use smart-grid technology to charge your car at the best electric rates.  Excess energy in your car would be sold back to the utility also at the most profitable rate for you, with your car becoming a mini power plant.  And, the smart-grid interactivity would tell your car when it would be cheaper to use gasoline versus electricity. 90 cents a gallon would be great!
  • “I, Robot” appliances to go: As the smart grid becomes more ubiquitous, it is expected that smart-grid-certified appliances (like refrigerators, washers, and water heaters) and gadgets (i.e., phone rechargers) will be sold that would tap into the grid and adjust their energy usage to save you money.  Also called Plug-and-Play.

Tomorrow ... some smart grid concerns and potential solutions -- PART 3.

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