Smart grids could outsmart criminals

Feb 19, 2012

Your smart phone uses broadband to connect you to the world. But when charging it, you're relying on an electrical system that was designed and built in the era of the rotary phone.

Because these systems are becoming outdated, too much electricity is slipping between our fingers, even as politicians highlight the need for "". Plus, to keep up with increasing demand is getting harder because communities oppose new plants in their backyard.

Hassan Farhangi leads the Intelligent Microgrid project at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). At this week's meeting of the (AAAS) in Vancouver, he will be part of a discussion on how smart grids can help reduce waste, fight theft, increase the use of renewable energy, and save people money on their hydro bill.

"So, the power we use is generated far from where we live, which means as much as 10 percent of that electricity is lost travelling transmission lines. Once in the city, more power is wasted because the distribution system is 'over-engineered' at the highest level of possible consumption," said Farhangi.

This means that although peak demand only occurs 20 percent of the time, inflexible distribution systems must be ready for peak demand 100 percent of the time. It's like keeping your car running in the driveway 24 hours a day just so it's ready to go when you need it.

"Then there's the electricity that's stolen. BC Hydro, for example, estimates that every decrease of 10 percent in theft—much of it committed by marijuana growers—could save $86 million."

Explore further: A platform to help consumers achieve sustainable energy consumption

Provided by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

3.8 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Smart software for self-regulating smart grid

May 24, 2011

Siemens and the utility company Allgauer Uberlandwerk (AUW) in the city of Kempten, Germany, are testing the smart grids of the future. The tests focus on optimized power distribution and the use of a self-organizing ...

Wind power in Spain reaches historic high

Mar 31, 2011

Wind power became Spain's main source of electricity for the first time ever this month, in a country renowned for its focus on renewable energy, the power-generating authority REE said Thursday.

Electricity blackouts: A hot summer topic

Aug 09, 2006

It is a common misperception that blackouts are caused by power shortages, but in any given year, about 90 percent of the power outages that customers experience are due to problems with the local distribution ...

A smart way to charge up

Apr 06, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Electromobility makes sense only if car batteries are charged using electricity from renewable energy sources. But the supply of green electricity is not always adequate. An intelligent charging ...

'Smart' fridges stay cool by talking to each other

Jan 13, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- 'Smart' fridges that run on renewable electricity and are capable of negotiating the most energy efficient way to keep food cold have been developed by researchers from CSIRO’s Energy Transformed ...

Recommended for you

Image: Testing electric propulsion

Aug 20, 2014

On Aug. 19, National Aviation Day, a lot of people are reflecting on how far aviation has come in the last century. Could this be the future – a plane with many electric motors that can hover like a helicopter ...

Where's the real value in Tesla's patent pledge?

Aug 20, 2014

With the much-anticipated arrival next month of electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla's Model S to Australian shores, it's a good time to revisit Tesla's pledge to freely share patents. ...

New type of solar concentrator doesn't block the view

Aug 19, 2014

(Phys.org) —A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Lord_jag
not rated yet Feb 20, 2012
So I can justify 20 percent more power from my solar panels because it isn't lost in transit to me?
Jmaximus
not rated yet Feb 22, 2012
Santorum says "In America we like our grid dumb! These Obama Satanic Smart Grids are the work of the Devil".