The smart grid for 5-year-olds   


As recently as last night I was trying to explain what “smart grid” was to my five-year-old. Needless to say, she didn’t quite get the concept. She just knows if the lights go out “the batteries are dead.” I’m OK with that understanding for now – it’s probably more than I knew at that age.

So last night we were watching a TV news show that was reporting on smart grid stimulus funding. I’ve pointed out power lines plenty of times to my kids for safety reasons, but what they do is still a mystery and to be honest, before I started working at a utility, it was a bit of a mystery to me too. How does the electricity generated hundreds of miles away get to my blender? Seems pretty smart already, right?

We’ve been talking more and more about smart grid and Avista even applied for some federal stimulus funding earlier this month for some projects. In a previous post we said that in general, having a smart electric grid means using technology to enhance the flow of energy and information while increasing reliability, efficiency and decreasing costs. My five-year-old just walked away when I said that. Go figure.

So, we’re all still trying to figure it out – or at least how to talk about it. In the meantime, you can checkout this detailed presentation called “The Smart Grid: An Introduction” from the Department of Energy. It’s definitely more than an introduction and more information than you need for your everyday life, but it’s a nice reference piece to have if you’re studying to be on Jeopardy or just really want to know about this stuff.

In the end, I told my daughter that the smart grid will help our house, and the black wires attached to it, talk with the power company.

“Dad, power lines don’t talk,” she said. “Maybe mom knows.”

I give up. 

Anyone out there have a good explanation of smart grid for me to use?
Posted by  System Account  on  8/24/2009
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