Smart Grids: Why go local

Based on this post below, someone needs to come up a Smart Grid, prove the concept on a macro level.   Link energy sources together and enable intelligent transmission.  We will never get away from our need for oil, if we cannot learn to move Solar, Wind and other sources of energy efficiently, much like we have with data.   Oil is pretty easy to move around, same with coal, to use the next generation of energy sources we need to reinvent our grid to avoid transmission loss and to allow localization of energy.   The more we can create energy sources near the demand and take more communities, cities and even homes off the grid.   The more we will enable solving the future energy crisis’s.
This essay was from a Ben Jervey:

A dummy’s guide to the “smart grid”

Wind turbines and solar panels may be the sexy, new stars of a clean energy future, but they’ll be nothing but a side note unless the grid that powers them gets a much-needed makeover.

While it’s widely noted that a new, national “smart grid” is a fundamental step in the spread of clean, renewable energy projects, there’s little chatter about building the grid itself. Why? Well, as Worldchangingfounder Alex Steffen notes: infrastructure is boring. He has a point, but we better start talking.

Last month I listened to a panel of energy experts explain to the New York City Council’s Infrastructure Task Force that Gotham’s grid simply couldn’t handle a proposed new supply of electricity flowing in from rooftop solar and offshore wind. Why? Because our current grid is dumb and wildly inefficient.

A blind system of transmission lines and converters, today’s grid funnels electricity one-way—from big centralized power plants to our factories, streetlights, shops, and homes. The utilities can’t detect fluctuations in energy demand; so, to ensure there are no shortages, the power plants run at full tilt, burning greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels around the clock. Not to mention, there is a lot of juice lost from coal-fired plant to the socket–5 to 10 percent due to “line loss” in the transmission wires alone. It’s also dreadfully vulnerable to disruptions, whether a break in the system—like a heavy branch taking down a roadside line—or an influx of power from an unexpected source. That’s bad news anyone who wants to plug his solar panels and sell electricity back to the grid.

The Internet of electricity— Al Gore coined the term “electranet” in an op-ed for Newsweek a couple years back—a smart grid would be networks, microprocessors and digital sensing technologies, a “web” of clever, hi-tech components that will be as flexible as it is intelligent. (The Wall Street Journal recently drew up a handy interactive model of such a system.) Supercomputers will let the utilities predict and manage system-wide demand and capacity, with batteries and other storage mechanisms ensuring that there’s always enough power to handle consumers’ needs. Power from distributed carbon-free sources such as rooftop solar, wind turbines, and combined heat and power systems will feed into the grid without causing breakdowns, so customers will be able to buy electricity for their homes and businesses, as well as sell power they generate back. “Smart meters” in buildings and homes will show the real-time cost of energy and assure that those that energy contributed to the grid—whether from a suburban family with photovoltaic panels on its roof or a Great Plains rancher with a wind turbine—receive payment. These distributed energy sources will require power to travel less distance, eliminating some electricity waste or “line loss.” Finally, internal building controls will adjust power demand, and new substations will take feedback from sensors along the transmission lines to better route electricity flow.

The smart grid won’t only be able to handle plug-in hybrids (the most realistic “car of the future” candidate), it’ll benefit from them. A national fleet of hybrid batteries will help provide storage capacity that our current distribution system sorely lacks. This is a key point: Solar and wind sources produce electricity in spurts—when the sun is highest, when the wind blows hardest.  When you plug in your 2012 Volkswagen Golf Hybrid, its battery—along with all the others plugged-in around your neighborhood—will draw power when there’s plenty, and pump it out when the grid is lacking. (And don’t worry about your neighbor’s gaudy Christmas light display sucking your car dry—that’s why we’ll have smart computers.)

Can such an integrated, comprehensive system ever actually get built?  Ask the people of Boulder, Col., which Xcel Energy announced earlier this year–through this campy video—would be the nation’s first “Smart Grid City.” There’s also heavy speculation floating of late that Google is going to train its brains on the grid. Last year the Internet giant announced an ambitious initiative to make “renewable energy cheaper than coal” (RE<C), which includes investments in a number of clean energy startups and labs whose innovations will ultimately rely on a new, smarter infrastructure.

But, before Google, or anyone else, can usher us closer toward a clean energy future, this mythical, digital backbone for the energy technology revolution—the smart grid—needs to become a reality.
(Photo: Xcel Energy)

If some of you know of companies working on solutions like this, I would love to hear.   If you can add a technical dimension to the topic I would love to share with the readers.   Thanks again, as you all know green energy is the next BIG thing.   Learning about it now will help every company as sustainability is coming into focus.

Going Completely Digital

I am going completely digital, no more paper anywhere.   I am going to save as many as 60-80 hours a month as well.   How much is your time worth?

Here are some solutions worth considering:

Mail to text by Earth Class Mail:

Earth Class Mail

Earth Class Mail

I can even mail all my important documents here for safe keeping (and) if I wanted have an address on Park Avenue.

Voicemail to quick text by Phone Tag:

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Put all your documents in the cloud:

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I also scanned everything on a Canon Scanner in my house: pictures, CD’s, documents, video’s (DVD’s) and put them into a cloud that I can access from anywhere.   All is this can be accessed on my iPhone.  I even have a SlingBox, where I can access my DirecTV on the road.   Yet, Hulu is gaining my attention to watch TV.   All of this is environmentally friendly and smart business, keeps me tidy and focused.  No wasted time.  I’m living like I have a team of 10 behind me, team BARE.    Finally, I also have my personal assistant at GetFriday.   They access my schedule, obtain business appointments, create proposals, research leads, organize all incoming communications including email, voicemails (PhoneTag), mail (Earth Class Mail), buy tickets, act as my concierge, count my calories, remember birthdays, send out Thank You cards, manage my house keeping, buy groceries online and have them delivered.   So just about anything that takes time can be done my team of assistants overseas.   Other things that have changed my life, online banking and debit cards – budgeting and organizing my purchases is great for month end financial analysis (all on my iPhone) and then there is LifeLock, which is protecting my credit and guaranteeing it.

All of these services combined are less than $500 a month and make my life easy.   I can focus on the important task.   Many people ask how I get it all done.   Now you know.   I can literally work from anywhere and get 3-4 times accomplished.   Now if someone could do my Thunderbird MBA homework for me.

IDEA #24: Scanned Yearbooks

Since everything else is showing up in digital format, where all the world’s high school and college yearbooks?    This could be a business opportunity as a few sites mention they do it, just not well and for one high school.   Classmates.com, where are you on this?   Reunion.com?   I am sure this is on the way, yet worth mentioning for idea #24.

Overnight Success

Is overnight success possible in this day and age?   Silently organizing the crowds and leveraging their connections and interest groups facilitates what I want to call:  The Silent Success.   These companies that did not run traditional mass-advertising to become successful, they leveraged the crowds that started to appear around their products and enabled them to move the message forward.   This is one way that marketing has changed in the last 5 years and will continue to change moving forward.

Ning  – build your own community for any reason

KickApps – customizable communities

EBay – sell anything, created more millionaires than any other site

YouTube – fastest growing site ever, video is viral

Hulu – reinventing TV

Blogger – the first major blogging tool

WordPress – the next generation of blog tools

Photobucket – photos are social, people want to see them

CraigsList – sell anything, this low tech site remains a top destination

Adobe – invented the tools for web development

Apple – reinventing creativity and the marriage between hardware and software

About – what to know anything, about.com usually will come up in your search

LiveScribe – record your life

Scribd – share your PowerPoints

iPhone – a new platform for smart phones, 51% of smart phone traffic

Blackberry – the official office phone

Flickr – the most popular photo application

Flipcam – 20% of camcorder market, easy to use, capture anything

Facebook – addicting and can keep up with all your friends

LinkedIn – the #1 business network site

MySpace – the first social network, still a leader

Amazon – in 2009, the only retailer with positive news

Google – reinvented search and now many other technologies with their labs

Wikipedia – reinvented the encyclopedia

Twitter – micro-blogging, so you are connected all the time

iTunes – the #1 way to download music

What do all these have to do with each other?   They all move the current value proposition slightly, not reinventing anything from their predecessors.   Innovation is often a few degrees from where we are, not 180 and definitely not reinventing.    My company CareerTours is about 45 degrees from the current market, so it needs time to move towards the market.   The innovation is there, the acceptance of it is not.   The Starfish, Spider, Spoke reinvented the brochure website and how to grow traffic online.  The viral, buzz, word-of-mouth and all the other new unexplainable ways of marketing were leveraged by these new internet giants.  From here, it is our job to figure out the equation for each of the companies we are involved with, we must do this along with the dramatic changes in the marketplace and the psychology of the market.

Innovation and Coolness

From consumer products to branding, here is a list to consider when comparing your ideas coolness or innovativeness. 

LiveScribe – a pen that records your conversations.

Wii – interactive gaming.

X Box – where the Wii leaves off.

Flipcam – owns 20% of the camcorder market.

iPhone – owns 51% of the smart phone traffic.

Wikipedia – eliminated Encyclopedia’s overnight. 

Hulu – online television, get ready to cancel your cable.

Slingbox – if you don’t cancel your TV, sling it to your phone or laptop anywhere in the world.

DirecTV – 1,000+ channels, if you still have to have TV.  

FlyBaboo – a great experience, service, brand, design and focus for a European airline.

Fast Co. – magazine coolness, innovation reporter.

BuzzMouth!  Web 2.0 Consultancy.   The future is here.  

Team OBAMA – raised $750 million and changed the way to run a campaign.

Made to Stick – the best marketed book, the next Tipping Point.

Booq Bag – bags made for laptops, not books.

Xplane – a company to explain things visually.

Adobe –  the cool design company from Photoshop to movies.

Apple MBA – cool laptop for the traveling CEO. 

Thunderbird MBA – a global MBA for global leaders.

Hot Yoga – benefits are unlimited – skin, health, fitness, flexibility, relationships. 

Netflix – the new Blockbuster, soon to be replaced by even more innovation.

Google – search for anything, the place to start on the web. 

Facebook – keep in touch with old friends in one place.

LinkedIn – the business network.

Digg – news from the people.

Twitter – micro-bloggers, connect and follow anyone.

ESPN – reinvented sports coverage and TV.

Current Media – reinventing TV again with short segments and independent reporting.

Live Nation – a new way to promote concerts and musicians.

There are many apps of innovation appearing each day.  The barrier to creativity has lowered and the ability to impact the many is now available to everyone.   The platform approach of Facebook, LinkedIN, MySpace, Google, iPhone, iTunes, Podcast, Scribed, etc. has broken the barriers to entry to nearly ZERO.

Experience Wii

http://www.youtube.com/experiencewii

Here is an innovative advertisement.    Pay close attention to YouTube.

IDEA #23: Results List

To do list on steroids.   Create a simple yet effective list that focuses on results.   Create due dates, count downs, completion percentages and multi-task management system.   Focus on the goal of the result and keep everyone involved informed.   A simple app like this can manage complex projects to grocery list.