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Clean Power wind transmission lines

Published on September 10th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz

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Researchers Developing the "Internet for Energy"

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September 10th, 2008 by  

wind transmission lines

North Carolina State University has just been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to create the National Research Center for Future Renewable Energy Delivery Management Systems— in other words, the Internet for energy.

The center will develop technology to transform the United States’ outdated centralized power grid to a “smart” grid that can store and distribute alternative energy from solar panels, wind farms, and more. The center’s plan even allows for community involvement— individual citizens can harvest their own energy and sell it back to power companies.

Over 60 companies have partnered with the university to create the smart grid, and the NSF grant wil bolster the project with $18.5 million.

While research will begin immediately, center headquarters on NC State’s campus won’t open until 2010.

The implications for the proposed smart grid are endless— it could easily speed up development of devices of all sorts that store energy and send it back to the grid. Additionally, it could make the use of plug-in hybrid cars viable on a mass scale. Plug-in’s aren’t feasible for mass usage right now — today’s outdated grid would simply get overwhelmed at peak charging times.

So if NC State’s grid works out, look for the energy industry to be completely revolutionized— maybe not next year, but possibly in the next decade.

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • president

    This should be a national security initiative. With distributed power, it would be much more difficult to bring the grid down.

  • president

    This should be a national security initiative. With distributed power, it would be much more difficult to bring the grid down.

  • president

    This should be a national security initiative. With distributed power, it would be much more difficult to bring the grid down.

  • http://www.clockout.org employee time management

    Go wolfpack! The lesser know of the big 3 NC Universities.

  • http://www.clockout.org employee time management

    Go wolfpack! The lesser know of the big 3 NC Universities.

  • http://www.clockout.org employee time management

    Go wolfpack! The lesser know of the big 3 NC Universities.

  • http://www.clockout.org employee time management

    Go wolfpack! The lesser know of the big 3 NC Universities.

  • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

    It’s really encouraging to see this beginning to happen in the US as well (Big push in Australia and Europe now) Here’s what I understand it to be: It would work in the same way as a file sharing network does: Lot of nodes distributed all over, rather then one central source of power. If somebody, be it an individual homeowner to a large business building produces excess power, it gets routed to where they’re producing less, and therefore maintaining stable and consistant energy.

    With enough people/businesses producing energy, the need for a power plant is reduced/eliminated. And, with less focus on a small number of sources for everybody’s power, it’s more resilient system, since a problem on one part of the grid won’t have as large an impact as before.

    Two great articles I read on this recently are http://www.odemagazine.com/doc/56/talkin-bout-my-generation/ and http://www.celsias.com/article/will-africa-be-hub-green-global-super-energy-grid/

    I am so excited about this possibility, and would love to be personally involved in it happening. Anybody out there reading this that is, go visit my site and get in touch please.

  • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

    It’s really encouraging to see this beginning to happen in the US as well (Big push in Australia and Europe now) Here’s what I understand it to be: It would work in the same way as a file sharing network does: Lot of nodes distributed all over, rather then one central source of power. If somebody, be it an individual homeowner to a large business building produces excess power, it gets routed to where they’re producing less, and therefore maintaining stable and consistant energy.

    With enough people/businesses producing energy, the need for a power plant is reduced/eliminated. And, with less focus on a small number of sources for everybody’s power, it’s more resilient system, since a problem on one part of the grid won’t have as large an impact as before.

    Two great articles I read on this recently are http://www.odemagazine.com/doc/56/talkin-bout-my-generation/ and http://www.celsias.com/article/will-africa-be-hub-green-global-super-energy-grid/

    I am so excited about this possibility, and would love to be personally involved in it happening. Anybody out there reading this that is, go visit my site and get in touch please.

  • Lucas

    Hmmm, I wonder if this would drive energy prices down as more and more poeple/companies get involved in selling energy.

  • Lucas

    Hmmm, I wonder if this would drive energy prices down as more and more poeple/companies get involved in selling energy.

  • Lucas

    Hmmm, I wonder if this would drive energy prices down as more and more poeple/companies get involved in selling energy.

  • http://www.neohide.com Keith

    The world certainly needs to look into alternative energy resources, such as wind and solar powered. Coal and oil will deplete one day and eventually the reliant will push the dependence on alternative energy even higher.

    So, there is never a better time to start but now.

  • http://www.neohide.com Keith

    The world certainly needs to look into alternative energy resources, such as wind and solar powered. Coal and oil will deplete one day and eventually the reliant will push the dependence on alternative energy even higher.

    So, there is never a better time to start but now.

  • http://www.neohide.com Keith

    The world certainly needs to look into alternative energy resources, such as wind and solar powered. Coal and oil will deplete one day and eventually the reliant will push the dependence on alternative energy even higher.

    So, there is never a better time to start but now.

  • http://www.neohide.com Keith

    The world certainly needs to look into alternative energy resources, such as wind and solar powered. Coal and oil will deplete one day and eventually the reliant will push the dependence on alternative energy even higher.

    So, there is never a better time to start but now.

  • Jammy Jo

    Clean energy is a good thing. I am all for it dude.

    Jiff

    http://www.privacy.cz.tc

  • Jammy Jo

    Clean energy is a good thing. I am all for it dude.

    Jiff

    http://www.privacy.cz.tc

  • Paul

    GO WOLFPACK!

  • Paul

    GO WOLFPACK!

  • Paul

    GO WOLFPACK!

  • http://www.misterinfo.de/users/erichansa erichansa

    this is a good idea and it would be even a great one if it will be successful. hope this discovery or research turns out to be at the advantage of the environment. cheaper, safer, more stable and healthier source of energy.

  • http://www.misterinfo.de/users/erichansa erichansa

    this is a good idea and it would be even a great one if it will be successful. hope this discovery or research turns out to be at the advantage of the environment. cheaper, safer, more stable and healthier source of energy.

  • http://www.misterinfo.de/users/erichansa erichansa

    this is a good idea and it would be even a great one if it will be successful. hope this discovery or research turns out to be at the advantage of the environment. cheaper, safer, more stable and healthier source of energy.

  • Brayden

    Yes I think it is a cool idea too. But how safe will this be if everyday people starting storing massive electricity in giant batteries?

  • Pingback: nerdd.net | news and opinion

  • Brayden

    Yes I think it is a cool idea too. But how safe will this be if everyday people starting storing massive electricity in giant batteries?

  • Ariel Schwartz

    Not quite that simple, but that’s the basic idea. Pretty cool, eh?

  • http://steventhecoop.wordpress.com/ Steve

    My only problem with this is that I didn’t think of it first! Good idea and cool find!

    At least it sounds good if I’m understanding it correctly. Is it like a big battery of “green” energy? Or not that simple?

  • http://steventhecoop.wordpress.com/ Steve

    My only problem with this is that I didn’t think of it first! Good idea and cool find!

    At least it sounds good if I’m understanding it correctly. Is it like a big battery of “green” energy? Or not that simple?

  • http://steventhecoop.wordpress.com/ Steve

    My only problem with this is that I didn’t think of it first! Good idea and cool find!

    At least it sounds good if I’m understanding it correctly. Is it like a big battery of “green” energy? Or not that simple?

  • http://steventhecoop.wordpress.com/ Steve

    My only problem with this is that I didn’t think of it first! Good idea and cool find!

    At least it sounds good if I’m understanding it correctly. Is it like a big battery of “green” energy? Or not that simple?

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