What kind of buildings will be in the smart cities of tomorrow? While the cities of the future will still be home to older historical and other buildings that are not energy-efficient good citizens of the power grid, the move will increasingly be to smart green buildings.
What sources of power can be counted on to back up microgrids when power from utilities runs low? We all think first about solar, batteries, wind, hydro and geothermal. But what about hydrogen? Maybe we should be thinking about that too.
In years past, many tribal lands were too remote to have access to reliable electricity. Many relied on gas and diesel-powered generators. That is changing, thanks in large part to the Department of Energy’s Tribal Energy Development grant program that is administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
What happens when you equip a city’s water system with advanced batteries made by Tesla? We don’t know for certain yet. However, we do know that Irvine, CA, is partnering with Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) to do it.
Thanks to their long life and low power consumption, light emitting diodes (LEDs) have become the lighting source of choice on about 13% off all American streets and highways. That might not be such a wise choice, according to “Human and Environmental Effects of Light Emitting Diode (LED) Community Lighting,” a report issued in June by the American Medical Association.
City planners in Columbus, OH had some thinking to do in June when their city won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge. The Challenge gave Columbus $40 million to invest in transit. Where would that grant money go?
The smart cities of tomorrow will be increasingly powered and heated by the sun. But not all solar-generated power will come from solar panels located on buildings or in fields nearby. A lot of the energy will be passively collected by the buildings themselves. And thanks to increasingly intelligent designs, smart self-heating buildings are posed to have a bigger impact on the design of smart grids.
Lots has been happening in the world of batteries since July, when Tesla opened its $5 billion Gigafactory in the Nevada desert. Battery production is ramping up there in two distinct product areas: batteries for use in Tesla automobiles and sleek-looking new Powerwall batteries for use in buildings. According to Tesla, each Powerwall battery can store up to 6.4 kilowatts, enough to provide overnight power to most homes.
As the “make electricity here, use it here” philosophy takes hold, many trend-watchers are focused on microgrids.
But supergrids are attracting attention too. The MIT Technology Review, named them one of its “10 Breakthrough Technologies,” because of their ability to utilize high-voltage direct current power lines to carry electricity much further than AC power cables can.