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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

LG Electronics invests in Smart Grid Technology

When company says that they are investing into smart grid technologies, they can be talking about very different ideas:
  • the smart grid architectures, standards, ideas: this is the most intriguing part, leads to patents and scholarly articles, and the big names are into it, including academia
  • the smart grid power electronics, to equip a smart transmission and distribution grid: transformers, control centers, feeders, switches, inverters,....
  • the smart grid "gadgets", that is the whole set of devices that are going to appear in our houses soon, including smart dryers, washing machines, house-wide control centers, computers, etc....

LG Electronics is into this last category, which is the one with the largest number of potential customers. It makes sense, as LG is the world's second-biggest manufacturer of flat-screen televisions and knows how to deal with people interests and trends.

This list of devices include smart meters, devices for real time data communication between utilities companies and consumers, smart appliances (dryers, air conditioning units, etc.) , but also plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles.
They specifically say that they are going to invest into "smart grids for commercial buildings and households", which means also something more interesting than single devices. They may provide the know-how, the hardware, and the software, to build smart micro grids.

Smart micro grids are portions of the electrical grid (for example a big house, a group of apartments, a commercial/industrial area, a neighborhood) that becomes smart: it includes distributed generation (wind, solar, waste), it implements real time pricing, monitoring and energy saving technologies, and so on.

The goal of smart grids is to provide new products and services to minimize both peak and overall energy use, allowing people and companies to save money.