General Electric has been getting into Smart Grids lately, even releasing an amazing new website to inform consumers of the benefits of smart grid technology for their homes and their lives.
I'm going to digress for a second here, because this particular website is one of the best websites I've come across. Particularly for this one page where the website asks you to print out a piece of paper (use recycled paper, please), and show it in front of your webcam...the result is something like this.
What GE envisions with this consumer-focused Smart Grid campaign is to have homes that look like this:
Image from: CNet
A energy management system powered by smart meters would efficiently allocate energy during peak and off-peak hours in the home with solar arrays or a wind turbines providing renewable sources of energy. Moreover, the energy management system and the smart meters would track energy usage of all the appliances in the home and efficiently route power to the appliances that need it the most, while simultaneously reducing the power usage of appliances that aren't currently in use.
This combined with energy storage systems, efficient lighting systems, etc. would provide GE with one of the most amazing home smart grid solutions ever.
Now if all of this sounds good, it gets even better. GE is running a trial of its smart grid technology at a luxury resort in Hawaii. Hawaii is the most fossil-fuel dependent state in the U.S., with 92 percent of its energy coming from fossil fuels. If this $14 million test-run, funded in part by federal grants from the Department of Energy, General Electric, and Hawaiian Electric, works in Hawaii, it has the potential to introduce increased use of smart grids on the island.
And if Hawaii expects to reach their target of 70% of their power needs met by renewable energy by 2030, they'll definitely need to consider smart grid technology.