The success record of smart grid renewables integration is a mixed bag, with European countries boldly plowing forward while many utilities in the United States exhibit what a former California state regulator called “electrotrophobia” – the fear of change linked to greater reliance upon intermittent renewable energy resources.
The electric industry is good at building things. That’s how it solves problems. Is there a threat of blackouts? Develop a new natural gas-fired plant. Worried about climate change? Build wind and solar power. Does electricity cost too much? Install a transmission line to import cheaper power.
According to the nonprofit organization Imagine H2O, the struggle for clean water is the challenge of our time. More than a billion people worldwide lack access to clean water, they point out, and even in the United States, pollution, scarcity, and a crumbling system of pipes and plants threaten the water supply.
They warn us that availability of clean water and sanitation will be the dominant issue of the coming decades, touching everything from human health, to biodiversity, to economics.
So, now that we know what some water-related problems are, where can we look for some water-related solutions? Interestingly, in a place where there hardly is any water: Israel.
Sixty percent of Israel is desert, and the remaining 40 percent is semi-arid land. So, it’s not surprising that an Israeli clean technology company called HydroSpin has made water its bailiwick.
Specifically, HydroSpin is interested in “Smart Water” technologies: those devices that monitor the movement of water and the quality of water as it travels through a network of distribution pipes.
Powering those Smart Water technologies so that they can record and transmit data has historically been a bit of a challenge: How do you power a device that’s stuffed inside a pipe? Especially if it’s a pipe in the middle of nowhere, like the desert?
Here, HydroSpin has made a clever innovation: the company has developed a unique generator that produces micro-energy from the flow of water inside distribution pipes. The HydroSpin generator creates enough power to support low-energy devices throughout the water network, such as sensors, probes and transmission devices.
As a result, the deployment of sensors and measuring devices is no longer limited to locations that have accessibility to electricity: monitoring devices can be positioned anywhere on the water network.
Additionally, data received from monitoring needn’t be limited by the amount of energy available through batteries. Data can be transmitted continuously, giving customers visibility into their network and sensors 24/7.
This type of visibility is a key requirement for developing a “smart grid” that identifies leaks, conserves resources, and otherwise guides water flow more intelligently.
Taking a clever idea and making it a reality—as HydroSpin has done—is at the heart of entrepreneurship, which is why Imagine H20 holds an annual Water Entrepreneurs Showcase highlighting the most promising early-stage water innovations.
This year, the showcase and awards ceremony is being hosted at the Autodesk Gallery at in San Francisco. The event will provide an opportunity to raise a glass—water or otherwise—to some innovative companies that are helping to tackle one of the biggest sustainability challenges of our time. To register for the event and learn more visit Imagine H2O.
Our electricity system is designed around central station, dispatchable (i.e. they turn on at the flip of a switch) generators. Transitioning to a system that is principally powered by renewable energy, many of which have variable production profiles, will require changes.
For a long time ‘clean’ and ‘green’ marked the forward trend in the energy industry. Then came the quest for ‘smart’ energy. And now ‘innovation’ is the buzzword.
It’s easy to see why. As Americans, we believe our ability to innovate sets us apart in today’s international market. Sure China can manufacture
A recent Bloomberg survey of key energy decision-makers concluded that China shows more government support than any other country for funding renewable energy. It also shows equally high support for transformational clean technologies, like smart grids and electric cars. With the right government backing, China could address its own energy security
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), what Pike Research defines as a “remote microgrid” is not a microgrid. The DOE defines a microgrid as a distribution system connected to a larger utility grid, with its defining characteristic being the ability to disconnect (seamlessly) and then operate in islanding mode.
For a long time, South Korea has been completely dependent upon imported energy resources to meet its large energy consumption. Prior to the use of renewable energy technologies, South Korea was the fifth largest importer of oil. Since the mid-1990s, however, that reliance on oil has steadily decreased.
As the investigation of the federal government loan guarantee to now bankrupt Solyndra of Fremont, California lingers, with critics looking for the company to come clean, it is may seem odd that California’s solar industry is in a celebratory mood this month.
The fact is that California – the leading market for
Several green patent lawsuits have been filed in the last two weeks in the areas of smart grid, wastewater treatment, and emissions reduction technology.
In addition, the U.S. International Trade Commission decided to move forward with an important investigation regarding solar panel mounting
Dynamic pricing for electricity has long been the holy grail of the smart grid, particularly for smart metering. The rationale is that if the retail price of electricity actually reflected the true time-based costs instead of a blurred monthly average, then consumers would become more efficient buyers, benefiting themselves,