Mani Vadari, whose second edition of Electric System Operations: Evolving to the Modern Grid, is available now, gives us some background on an everyday convenience and how the electric grid helped make it happen:
The modern toilet and the electric grid became part of our daily lives in the late 1800’s and have operated using the same basic infrastructure over the last 100+ years. Sure, we’ve had upgrades here and there – low-flush toilets, smart meters – but the fundamental operation remains unchanged. Even though we pay for electricity and water, we expect it will always be available. We depend on them and maybe even take them for granted.
Like water, electricity flows through almost every aspect of our modern lives; our homes, our offices, even our cars are becoming more reliant on electricity. Modernizing the grid and its operations can’t happen overnight. Even if we invented the best, cheapest technology and even if our regulations were such that we could incorporate it quickly, upgrading the infrastructure – while keeping reliable power flowing – would take careful planning and a lot of time.
I am as eager as the next person to witness 100% renewable generation powering our collective electricity grid. I am looking forward to electric vehicles becoming the norm and city blocks being powered by microgrids. I am excited to see artificial intelligence and blockchain being integrated into how the electric power system will operate. However, in order for us to take advantage of rapidly evolving technologies, declining costs and shifting regulatory landscapes, we must first have a strong understanding of basic electric system operations and a fundamental acknowledgement that changing the grid requires thorough, thoughtful planning.
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