Simply Producing a ‘Smarter grid’ Will Not Be Sufficient to Solve the Problems

August 21, 2012 by Jeff Shepard

A Call for Papers has been issued for the third-annual Smart Grid Electronics Forum (SGEF ’12) to be hosted in Detroit, Michigan on October 16 & 17. SGEF ’12 will focus on the practical impact that the emerging smart grid will have on the design issues/decisions/techniques/devices/etc. related to the development and design of electronic equipment.

"Simply producing a ’smarter grid’ will not be sufficient to solve the problems with today’s electricity transmission and distribution systems," stated Jeff Shepard, president of Darnell Group. "Key enablers will include the development of advanced energy measurement and control capabilities coupled with machine-to-machine communications incorporated into ‘smart’ electronic devices ranging from appliances to electric vehicles, industrial equipment and even smart buildings. Maybe most-important will be the deployment of highly sophisticated intelligent microgrids including energy storage and generation to take the load entirely off the grid, instead of merely trying to ’manage’ existing loads and centralized energy generation resources with so-called ’smart grid’ technologies," Shepard concluded.

Delegates at SGEF ’12 will be actively shaping the discussion of how deployment of the smart grid will change the design of all types of electronic equipment. Coverage will extend from the Smart Meter through the building and related microgrids to the end-use equipment. At SGEF ’12, you will hear about the latest component developments, design techniques, communications protocols, architectures, smart-grid standards, and more. A key question to be considered at this year’s SFEG will be: "Are microgrids the key to the successful development of the smart grid?"

Delegates at the third-annual SGEF will have an opportunity to tour two unique facilities: The NextEnergy Technology Demonstration facilities and Nextek Power Systems. Nextek is a pioneer in direct current (dc) power networks for buildings. The Nextek Direct Coupling® power distribution platform delivers superior efficiency, flexibility, and reliability to interior electrical circuits and on-site power generation. Two 480-Vac to 380-Vdc gateways that are able to produce 80kW of power each have been installed outside of the Nextek Power Systems’ Detroit offices on the NextEnergy campus. The units, which can accept both renewable and AC energy sources, are the key to the company’s R & D for bi-directional vehicle charging and discharging.

NextEnergy’s mission is to accelerate energy security, economic competitiveness, and environmental responsibility through the growth of advanced-energy technologies, businesses, and industries. The Next Energy Technology Demonstration facilities include three elements: 1) Plug-in Electrical Vehicle (PEV); 2) Direct-current power networks have been developed and are being demonstrated at NextEnergy Center, in collaboration with Nextek Power Systems, the U.S. Department of Defense, the State of Michigan, and others; 3) Demonstrations of advanced electrical-grid technology.

More information on the Smart Grid Electronics Forum can be found here.

More news and information regarding the latest developments in Smart Grid electronics can be found at Darnell’s SmartGridElectronics.Net.