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Posts Tagged "grid"

Anthropology in Practice

When the Lights Go Down in the City

Ed note: This post originally appeared on the original home of Anthropology in Practice. It seemed appropriate to share in light of the SciAm cities feature – particularly as I’m traveling. See you Friday! As the sun sinks over the Hudson River, New York City doesn’t power down. Lights flicker on and soon the famous [...]

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Guest Blog

Texas “Tea” becomes the Texas “E”?

At 1 P.M. on February 28, 2010 a jaw-dropping 22 percent of the electricity being used in the state of Texas was supplied by the wind. Today, Texas is home to more than 10,000 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity—more than the next three largest wind states (Iowa, California and Washington) combined. In the course of [...]

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Observations

Solar Power Helped Keep the Lights On in India

india-overloaded-grid

Every day, at least 400 million Indians lack access to electricity. Another nearly 700 million Indians joined their fellows in energy poverty over the course of the last few days, or roughly 10 percent of the world’s population. Oddly enough, some of the formerly energy poor—rural villagers throughout the subcontinent—found themselves better off than their [...]

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Observations

What is the smart grid anyway? [Video]

The smart grid. Sounds good, right? But what exactly is it? And does that mean we have a dumb grid now? "The grid, it is smart today," Laura Ipsen, a senior vice president at Cisco, told the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-e) conference on March 2. "The weaving of IT [information technology] and [...]

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Plugged In

Renewable Energy Intermittency Explained: Challenges, Solutions, and Opportunities

SolarPanel

Critics of renewable energy often cite the fact that technologies like wind and solar only produce energy when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. They argue that we can’t effectively utilize renewable energy until appropriate energy storage technology is developed. While the fact that wind and solar don’t produce energy around the [...]

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Plugged In

Throwback Thursday: The First U.S. Energy Storage Plant

(Source: Popular Science via Google Books)

In July 1930, the magazine Popular Science ran an article announcing the start of operations at the first U.S. “ten-mile storage battery”—or pumped-hydro energy storage plant—near New Milford, Connecticut. Connecticut Electric Light and Power Company built the plant to meet the region’s peak electricity load and mitigate seasonal water shortages. The article goes on to [...]

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Plugged In

Software: The Next Challenge for Grid Batteries

RedBattery

It seems like every day we hear about another incremental breakthrough in battery technology. By tweaking existing battery chemistries or inventing new chemistries altogether, university researchers and startup companies have managed to increase the energy density, cycle life, energy efficiency, and safety of numerous potential grid battery technologies. There’s no doubt that these advances in [...]

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Plugged In

6 things about solar PV, from one who actually knows

My friend Mark Turner just finished up his own solar PV roof installation, and like everybody else I’ve been curious about how it worked — and how it’s working out. He responded with a blog post that answers just about every simple question, so I thought I’d share it here. I hope we follow along [...]

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Plugged In

Toronto Rolls with the Grid

My colleague Melissa Lott presciently today in this very space recalled the enormous India blackouts of 2012 and discussed new algorithms for addressing similar events in the future. Cue thunder, offstage: Toronto got almost 5 inches of rain on the night of July 8, washing out its downtown to an unprecedented scale. And naturally, after [...]

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Plugged In

Who Needs Investment: Let’s Have an Infrastructure Film Festival

The television show “Revolution” is getting ready to start, with its plot based on the failure of the electrical grid. That’s nothing new, though — the most recent Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” and Spiderman movie, “The Amazing Spiderman,” came out this summer, each with significant events or  themes involving infrastructure systems. Half of the [...]

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Plugged In

Get Used to It

Today’s suggestion? Get used to it. Days of unspeakable heat? The heat taking the usual storm systems and turning them excessively violent? Lack of investment in infrastructure making recovery from those storms lengthy and piecemeal? Check, check, and check. Remember the “Snowstorm of 88” narratives we all grew up listening to? The next generation of [...]

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