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Len Rosen's picture
Principal Author and Editor 21st Century Tech Blog

Futurist, Writer and Researcher, now retired, former freelance writer for new technology ventures. Former President & CEO of Len Rosen Marketing Inc., a marketing consulting firm focused on...

  • Member since 2018
  • 164 items added with 169,803 views
  • May 11, 2021

Why is the current grid incompatible with 21st century needs? Because:

  • It is not set up to manage and direct intermittent power from renewable wind, solar, tidal and wave energy sources without major tweaking.
  • It is not designed for a low carbon economy.
  • It is not built to take on the energy demands of consumers as they shift to electric vehicles.
  • It is not set up to manage standalone energy source surpluses like solar on home roofs feeding it.
  • It has no visual map of how energy flows through it in real-time, a map that all operators could view whether managing a power plant or generating power and feeding the system from a solar roof.
  • It doesn't come with a universal standard toolset that can be shared by all operators.
  • It is not capable of integrating data and energy flows, a hindrance in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT).
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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 12, 2021

I often like to look at grid modernization opportunities and questions from the lens of 'what would we build if we had to create a grid from the ground up knowing what we know today, not being concerned with legacy systems.' These type of AI tools would really be at the top of that list to make, like you say, the 21st century grid

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on May 12, 2021

Len, That is great news. Google alphabet is really big and smart. The GRID is very old and vulnerable. I do see a lot of Power Companies adding large 100 MW and more advanced Battery Storage. It is helping cover the Duck Curve and weak areas of the GRID. Storage has been the Holy Grail of the GRID for over 100 years and now it is finally here.

  What items do you see that will make the GRID smarter and more efficient?

Len Rosen's picture
Len Rosen on May 13, 2021

Hi Jim, Adding AI to manage the grid will be a gamechanger. Widely distributed sensors with AI software can learn the behaviour of every node, every wire, transformer, generator, turbine, etc. AI can become a predictive and proactive tool to ensure continuity of equipment and the power being fed and delivered across the grid. This was my goal back in the late 90s when I first started talking to utilities in Texas. There was little interest at the time. But I think now, the technology is more advanced, cheaper, and more capable than when I was conceiving adding AI to the grid. 

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