Peak load event
At its research center in Niskayuna, N.Y., GE has set up a smart-grid research center where it is working on various aspects of making the grid more efficient and reliable.
Here, electrical engineer John Kern runs a simulation of the smart grid in action. In this case, there's a spike in demand because it's a hot day and the added air conditioning load is straining the local distribution grid.
Behind Kern is the software that a utility would use to forecast the projected load and steps it can take to deal with it. In this case, it's going to try to "shed load," or lower power consumption in its local area. It sends a signal to buildings with a smart meter to indicate that it needs to reduce consumption. Reducing the load through efficiency is less polluting and less expensive than relying on "peaker plants" to meet high demand.
July 16, 2009 5:57 AM PDT
Photo by: Martin LaMonica/CNET
| Caption by: Martin LaMonica
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