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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Smart microgrid solutions in San Diego

As said many times in this blog, the fact of introducing new distributed generation of electric power (solar panels, etc.) bring new opportunities together with new challenges.

Many people know what the opportunities are: minimization of energy cost, reduced carbon footprint, reduced peak load, and so on.

However, a smart microgrid needs many control and management devices in order to run effectively and to be reliable. Some "intelligence" capable of monitoring the energy production and consumption, exploit storage devices, sell and buy energy on the market, and so on.

At Power Analytics (a company based in San Diego, CA... home of Qualcomm, among others) they bet on a centralized solution, a big master unit that supervise the entire microgrid in order to keep everything under control.

Not everybody agree: other solutions include "distributed intelligence", where many peers cooperate without any central unit. Something like the Internet, where no central controller has the computational power of managing the entire network, which is instead sustained by the connected devices in a cooperative and synergistic way.