What is the Smart Grid?

Imagine a world where you control how much you pay for the electricity to run your air-conditioner or your dishwasher, or even choose whether you want that electricity to come from gas, coal, sun or wind. It may sound far-fetched, but this is the kind of energy system the people at Grid2Home are working towards today.

The Smart Grid Defined

The Smart Grid is the revolutionary system being developed and implemented across the United States and around the world that delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using two-way data communications to save energy, reduce cost, and increase reliability and transparency.

The most important characteristic of the Smart Grid will be a two-way flow of electricity and information enabling the capability to monitor everything from power plants, to sun and wind forecasts, to electricity meters and individual appliances. It incorporates digital communications to deliver real-time information and enable the balance of supply and demand at the device level.

Building out the HAN

han_graphic

Smart consumer products including meters, appliances, thermostats and even plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and supply equipment are being developed and deployed to allow consumers to take control of their energy demand and therefore their energy costs. In fact, tens of millions of Smart Meters have already been deployed.

The Home Area Network (HAN) is the communication technology that will enable smart devices in the home. It is a network in the home that allows devices and major appliances to communicate with each other and the consumer to respond in real-time to utility pricing. Demand for HAN-enabled smart devices is growing quickly. Whirlpool has stated that 100% of their home appliances will be Smart Grid compliant by 2015, and in a recent survey by GE, 82% of Americans believe that smart meters and smart appliances are the future and 88% are willing to use smart devices.