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Smart Grid: A New Revolution for Energy Consumption
   2016-03-31 20:12:24    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Min Rui

File photo of an electricity facility in Hebei province. [Photo: Xinhua]

As more and more electronic devices become indispensable parts of our lives, a smarter energy network has been called for at the 2016 Global Energy Interconnection Conference being held this week here in Beijing.

CRI's Min Rui has more about the Smart Grid everyone is talking about at the Conference.

 

Our current electronic grid was conceived more than 100 years ago, when electricity needs were simple.

Utilities delivered energy to the consumers' home, where demand was limited to maybe a few light bulbs and possibly a radio.

This limited beginning has made it difficult for the grid to respond to the ever-changing and rising energy demands of the 21 century.

Wang Xiangdong, CEO of the Yingli Green Energy Group, says the smart grid network enables new technology and tools to work together, making all consumers into power generators.

"The smart grid enables you to generate electricity at home, individuals are all output sources, and it should be able to let you profit from selling the energy you generated."

In short, the smart grid introduces a two-way dialogue where electricity and information can be exchanged between the utility and consumers.

Just imagine, if your house is in a windy location, and you have a fan motor, you can save all your spare electricity. If you're connected to the smart grid, then you can sell it even to people from afar at a higher price when needed.

Argonne National Laboratory Director Peter Littlewood explains how this works.

"You as a house holder, will then, have a decision. Do I buy power from the grid? Or do I decide to sell it back. And you might price the electricity different time depending on the demand, and you can go into banking, and start selling your electrons back to your neighbor."

The smart grid also aims to develop a network of communications, controls, and new technologies and tools working together to make the grid more efficient and more reliable.

Littlewood says in the future, the grid should be able to analyze your energy consuming patterns, and link all electronic devices at your home to serve you as an assistant.

"I might like to be able to, when I go out, ask my refrigerator, do I have enough food in the fridge to eat tonight? And have it tell me, so then I know to go to the super market on my way home to get something there. I predict people would use technology in that kind of way"

When it comes to the security issue of the smart grid, Littlewood says it is not a big problem for modern technology.

"Then you need to make sure that there are secured protocols which to use on that. Now actually, that's not very difficult. The main reason that people actually break into computers, by the way, is usually because somebody forget to set the password. So it's not in fact difficult to construct systems which would be quite secure, but what make it not secure is actually the facts the people are operating them."

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