Thursday, December 5, 2013

Net Metering, Good or Evil?

I bet that if you walked up to 100 random people and poked them in the side with a knitting needle, you'd get a pretty consistent reaction.  Some of them might just yelp and jump away, and some of them might take a swing at you, but all of them would react negatively.

The point of this observation is that consistent response to stimuli doesn't mean it's a conspiracy, or even a coordinated effort.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

An interesting comparison

Good Morning, and Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm sitting in my Brother-In-Law's family room writing this week's Blog and getting ready for the all-day-food-fest that is a get together with my family.  While the coffee perks, I'm thinking about the latest I3 Magazine (It Is Innovation, a CES house magazine.)  A single page filler article at the back really caught my attention, because it puts some numbers to things I've been saying for a while.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Simple Economics

This is just some "mental doodles" on how electricity could be priced in the retail market, if we were starting with a blank slate.  Some of these musings might not be practical in terms of a transition from what is, but it may be a useful exercise in goals.

I'm no economist, so I would appreciate comment and discussion from those who are trained in the field.  I will be updating this "scratchpad" as time goes on:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thoughts from SGIP 2.0

Just a quick update from the venue at the Inaugural SGIP 2.0 meeting.  First off: SGIP 2.0?  Whazzat?

The SGIP was created as a mostly-public public/private organization, to help NIST meet its mandate from the Energy Independence and Security Act.  That was 1.0.  Now it has finished its first year of transition to a mostly privately funded entity.  That's 2.0.  The mission is largely the same, but now it's mostly member-funded and member-driven.  There are a lot of moving parts involved, but that's the high level view.

Topics that seem to be getting a lot of traction include:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Time travel...

I've been going back over some old Blog posts here to find a link I needed for a "guest-blogger" stint, and came across this entry from August of 2011.  Way back in mid 2011, we had the beginnings of CSEP working on testing and certification for SEP, the "open" fork off of ZigBee Smart Energy that was supposed to be the best thing for Smart Grid since, well, ever. 

There were high hopes at the time that we'd be looking at SEP-based products on store shelves, maybe before the end of the year.

Not much to observe here, really, except to note that here we are 25 months later, and still no certification available, though I have heard that we might be looking at being able to start certifying devices in Q2 2014. 

Best laid plans of mice and men, indeed...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Engaging the Consumer...but who is / will be the consumer?

I spent the early part of this week at the Parks Smart Energy Summit in San Antonio.  The theme of the event was "Engaging the Consumer," and while no diamond rings were exchanged, a lot of useful ideas were.

The last speaker I got to hear before scurrying to the Airport was Doug Houseman. (I'm writing this in BWI, waiting for my flight to Raleigh, NC where I'm on a panel tomorrow at SmartGrid Update's "Smart Grid Distribution Automation 2013.")

Doug is a lot of things: an avid gamer, an architect, a pretty serious computer geek, opinionated, direct to an extreme, and a good friend.  He also has one, sometimes annoying, habit:

He's right a lot.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Starting at the Refrigerator...

An article in FierceSmartGrid just crossed my inbox.  It's an interesting interview with Saifur Rahman, founding director of the Advanced Research Institute at Virginia Tech, and VP of the IEEE Power and Energy Society.

To my mind, Saifur gets many things right, particularly identifying the problem.  He's right when he says that the foundation of the Smart Grid "pyramid" is customer acceptance.  If we don't get that, the rest (technology, standards, regulation) is all for naught.

Here's where I think he (and a lot of other folks) are getting it wrong.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

SEP 2.0 is almost awesome.

SEP 2.0 is almost awesome.  It has just about everything I would like to see in a Home Energy Management protocol.  It's reasonably robust, in terms of the type of activities it can handle, and it's reasonably agnostic at the phy-mac (hardware) layer.

However, it is tied to (or should I say "bound by") an architectural understanding of Smart Grid that keeps it from being truly awesome.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Smart Grid reflections on CES

I spent a couple of hectic days at CES in Lost Wages this week.  I noticed a few things that seemed really interesting, and indicated the future for Smart Grid, or at least a glimmering of it.
  • Toshiba's presentation of a "home cloud".  While the acting was pretty stiff, and the audio was lip-synched, the view of an integrated home with load manangement (via the cloud), endpoint generation and storage, and the integration of entertainment, lifestyle, information and energy management was the kind of thing that I believe is needed if Smart Grid is going to be anything but another place for Utilities to accumulate Rate base.  
    • The Good
      • Thinking about storage and local generation with someone other than the grid deciding how it will be used.
      • Having energy management and control based on consumer choice and consumer-controlled decision-making about energy use.
      • The integration of  energy management into the Apple-like "coolness of lifestyle" will be the real driver for intelligent load to succeed in the residential market
    • The Bad
      • Cloud-based energy management needs local fallback in case communication to the cloud is lost.  If it is there, it wasn't mentioned.
    • The Ugly
      • You of course have to buy everything from Toshiba (including your cloud-based service management) in order to get it to happen.
  • The inclusion of a "connected home" area wasn't new, but it was interesting in the same way Toshiba's presentation was.  Possibilities...
  •  The ZigBee booth was large and easy to navigate through, in part because it was lightly attended. 
    • ZigBee may be taking damage from its close association with some of the early Smart Meter debacles, or the lack of comparability and interoperability across its various flavors, or something else entirely.
  • The Z-Wave booth was small and hard to get around in, in part because it was packed like a sardine can.
    • Z-Wave vendors were making much of their (very real) ability to interoperate and intercommunicate, but not as much as they could have.
    • They need a platform for easy and consistent end-user programming or customization of "scenes", preferably integrated with a television, smartphone or other "infotainment" device.  If one exists, they need to get it out front and make a big freaking deal about it.
  • Arrayent's platform for OEMs to build their solutions on a prepackaged, pre-engineered wireless networking solution has legs, particularly if they can get their OEM customers to start touting interoperability.  "Buy our device, because we work with devices from all these other companies!"  The customer neither knows nor cares that all those different products from different vendors come out of the same plant.
  • And finally...

"End-Centric" Thinking about Microgrids

My friend Toby Considinehas an article in December's Automated Buildings Webazine that states "Buildings should be designed as microgrids in their own right, managing their own energy supply and quality."

A good point.  However, the view is limited to Commercial Buildings (no surprise there, it is "Automated Buildings" magazine after all).  I'd like to think in somewhat broader, more general, terms.  So let's consider "endpoint-centric" microgrids.