I’m not sure if its naming is brilliant (it does roll off the tongue) or pathetic (what’s next ‘genius bombs’?) but Optimal Technologies International, who develops electric grid technologies, is advocating not for a ‘smart grid’ but a ‘genius grid’ as an integral component of any transition towards greater renewable energy in the United States. We’ve gone over the need for better electric transmission on a number of occasions, but this is how OTI describes a genius grid:Genius Grid = Smart Grid + Using Legacy Technology Where Appropriate
The genius grid of the future will be an optimized mix of legacy transmission, distribution, and generation, but will also include new clean/green demand-side micro-grid technologies that allow buildings and communities to be environmentally responsible.
Such new genius grids will use the smartest of the present smart grid technologies to provide altogether new visibility into, and optimization of, the supply and demand-side using innovative grid-connected generation technologies.
So pretty much a smart grid, but repackaged to acknowledge that there’ll be some of the non-smart grid remaining in places. Good on OTI for pushing for the need for better electric transmission, but the distinction between genius and smart in grid technology is pretty blurry.
The Advantages of a Smart Grid
Call it what you will, but here’s some of what OTI correctly says a smart grid will enable:
- Accommodate and optimize the addition of utility-scale renewable energy
- Accommodate and optimize the addition of small renewable energy generation
- Accommodate and optimize the movement from gas to electricity in the US and international vehicle fleets
- Encourage all forms of innovative electric vehicles to feed back power into the grid and also offer grid regulation to offset variable generation from renewables
More: Optimal Technologies (press release)