Archive for November, 2009

Plug-in hybrids from Volvo in 2012

The energy company Vattenfall and Volvo have launched a joint venture to be able to offer plug-in hybrid vehicles on the market in 2012.

The period of transition from fossil fuelled vehicles to vehicles run on electricity will take some time. With more electric vehicles used our dependency on oil will diminish because electricity can be created from various energy sources. A plug-in hybrid vehicle uses electricity as the main energy source but when the battery is empty it can also be run on petrol/gasoline or biofuels like bioethanol or biodiesel. The main purpose for the battery on electric vehicles developed in the close time span is therefore shorter road trips but the capacity will be enough for most drivers living and working in the same city or area.
Compared to a combustion engine the electricity engine uses about 75% less energy. With petrol fuel prices available on the market today electricity will power the vehicles with about a fifth. Because the development of batteries takes time and costs a lot of money the prices on plug-in vehicles will be higher than a traditional vehicle. This will probably change over time.

The Plug-in hybrid can be charged in your home, at work or wherever the batteries can be loaded. According to Vattenfall, more plug-in hybrids on the market that needs to charge their batteries will not be a capacity problem for the existing Swedish grid. In time the demand of quick charging stations will increase. This must be in mind while building or upgrading the grid infrastructure.

Here are two video presentations about the development of Plug-in hybrids from Volvo and Vattenfall.

Smart Grid innovation at Baltimore Gas & Electric

Under the Recovery Act we are making the largest ever investment in a smarter, stronger and more secure electric grid. – President Barack Obama

On October 27 2009, Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) was selected to receive a $200 million grant (of the total $3.4 billion) for Smart Grid innovation under the Recovery Act.

In this video provided by U.S. Department of Energy, Ken DeFontes, CEO at Baltimore Gas & Electric explains how a Smart Meter will help people to become more aware of their everyday electric consumption. He compares the Smart Meters with a grocery store where you as a customer know exactly how much that bag of apples is going to cost you. Instead of a monthly or annual manual read value you can get real time feedback from your meter or online at an Internet web service. With the new Smart technology we are able to monitor when electricity is used. This enables customers to use electricity when prices are lower. The consumption understanding will also help customers to save energy. With old meters we can only calculate how much electricity is being used from one manual reading to another.

Selected parts from President Barack Obama’s Smart Grid announcement at the Generation Solar Energy Center is also in this clip.

Take a look at these links for more information:
Pressrelease from U.S. Department of Energy
Smart Grid Regional Demonstration, list of all selected projects
Baltimore Gas and Electric

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Andrew Tang envisioning the smart grid

Andrew Tang is senior director of a group called ‘the smart energy web’ at the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E). The group looks at what advances in technology that utilities have to implement to be able to save the environment and operate more efficiently and bring the industry into the 21st century.

PG&E has made parts of the presentation at the California Academy of Sciences available.

Siemens E-Utile at AEG in Milan

E-Utile – Siemens IT solutions and Services operates a network of 2 million smart meters for the utility company AEM based in the city of Milan. With the real time connection AEM customers are able to monitor their energy consumption at any time. With the system provided AEM can offer flexible tariff models. According to Walter Fontanel, Global Solution Manager Metering at Siemens IT solutions and Services in Italy, an automated metering management solution is the key enabling factor to manage and control meters remotely. Siemens are able to integrate the management system with the back office system already in use at the utility company, for example a billing system. Siemens claims that the system is cost effective and that it could be used by utility companies all over the world.

Watch a video presentation published by Siemens on the 10th of November.

IBM – creating efficient Grid Models

People at IBM and industry experts are trying to use new technology to improve the existing grid. With smart devices placed all over the grid, sending consumption- and production data to a centralized management system, utilities are able to monitor what is happening in the grid and make adjustments on remote control to optimize the system. When you get the full picture it’s easier to get in control and make the right decisions faster.

Watch this information video for more information:

For more information from IBM on Smart Grid, click here!