Lexicographers record when and how often a new word or phrase in used in the print media to identify when new words enter the language. This week millions of readers of The Economist have been introduced to a phrase that is already very familiar to us at NEMA Smart Grid. In the magazines Special Report on the Future of Energy I counted the term being used seven times.
The report explained how smart grids will be crucial in constantly monitoring the load on the electrical system and taking action to shut down or boost a consumers usage, by switching circuits or devices, to smooth out demand and avoid spikes. In this way it would reduce the need for peakers expensive gas turbine power plants used to meet sudden increases in demand.
The magazine also identified a role for smart grid in the development of plug-in hybrid vehicles. It foresees a world in which vehicle charging stations would be available everywhere. At times of peak demand the charging system could be reversed so that the hybrid vehicles battery would supply power back to the grid. Managing plug-in hybrids could be, in the Economists words, the smart grids killer application.