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What Exactly is the Smart Grid?

By Ted Nelson
April 14, 2010
File under: Alternative Sources, Electric Sources


The Smart Grid is a hot topic these days: it’s in the press a lot, and gets tons of play in Washington DC. However, the average citizen is still pretty hazy on the details.

Tracy Crawford gave a great rundown of the debate over whether or not to implement a Smart Grid in a previous post.

Many people confuse the Smart Grid with Smart Meters; which are the Smart Grid’s most noticeable aspect, but only one piece of the puzzle. It’s all really pretty intuitive, once you see it on paper.


The term “Smart Grid” is an umbrella term, defining the modernization of the electricity infrastructure …read more of What Exactly is the Smart Grid? here

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Canary in a Coal Mine

By Ted Nelson
October 6, 2009
File under: Carbon Emissions, Climate Change, Electric Sources, Natural Resources


It’s not a secret that a big draw-back of renewable energy is cost. The direct financial costs borne by the producers, and therefore consumers, of electricity created from fossil fuels is lower than that of renewable sources like wind and solar. However, the argument in favor of renewable energy is that there are indirect costs of electricity generated from fossil fuels that are not borne directly by the producers or consumers, but by society at large.

These are environmental and health costs that do have a direct and meaningful impact on our quality of life, but are not directly paid by producers and consumers of electricity generated from coal and other fossil fuels.

These indirect costs are not as tangible as the direct costs: you feel the impact of your electricity bill on your budget immediately, while the health and environmental impacts of coal usage are hard to quantify. …read more of Canary in a Coal Mine here

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The Truth About US Energy Subsidies

By Ted Nelson
September 21, 2009
File under: Alternative Sources, Carbon Emissions, Climate Change, Electric Sources


A new study from the Environmental Law Institute in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, “Estimating US Government Subsidies to Energy Sources: 2002-2008,” shed light on US energy subsidies.

The study finds that fossil fuels received almost two-and-a-half times more subsidies over the 7 year period than renewables: $72 billion for fossil fuels compared to $29 billion for renewables.

Of equal concern is that 58% of renewables subsidies ($16.8 billion) went towards corn-based ethanol, a fuel that’s carbon credentials are in question and has been linked to increasing world food prices. …read more of The Truth About US Energy Subsidies here

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All Solar All The Time

By Loretta White
May 21, 2009
File under: Alternative Sources, Electric Sources, Solar Energy


Have you wondered why areas with hot climates haven’t utilized solar energy more? I have, and am happy to say that there is a man who wants to make the sun and integral part of the way we live.

Syd Kitson, Chairman & CEO of Kitson & Partners has partnered with the state of Florida and formed an alliance of unlikely bed-partners. Government leaders, environmentalists, utilities and private business partners are coming together in a manner not seen before. They plan to create the first ALL solar and carbon neutral city!

Once a cattle ranch and nature preserve, is now the largest preservation land acquisition in the history of Florida. …read more of All Solar All The Time here

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My New Smart Meter

By Ted Nelson
May 3, 2009
File under: Electric Sources, Green Economy, Waste Reduction


This week I was able to see the green revolution at work, when my electricity provider–San Diego Gas & Electric–installed a smart meter on my home (some info on their smart meter program from SDG&E).

The smart meter will be the ground soldier of the smart grid, allowing both utilities and consumers to track demand from individual homes and businesses in real time. Critics remain skeptical about the cost of installing smart meters across the US, but the benefits we are going to see will prove well worth the cost.

Eventually, my smart meter will allow me to monitor my electricity usage online, but this feature will not be available to SDG&E customers until later in the year. Until then the meter’s main benefit is that SDG&E can monitor my demand and identify problems (basically, not much).

Once I can track my usage and the current price of electricity in real time, however, the system will allow me to level off my demand–moving away from peak demand hours when prices are highest–and encourage me to reduce my overall demand. …read more of My New Smart Meter here

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