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Digital Electric Power Lines

Digitally controlled electric power distribution and consumption
  [vote for,

Instead of always distributing high power to all destinations, with powerlines carying much higher voltage and transforming down, wouldn't it be more efficient if: each house had electric wiring receiving a micro-current, that when activated (via an appliance being plugged in) would digitally switch on the main current to that electric outlet, while notifying the powerlines, which, similar to a cellular network, would themselves switch on to higher power. Would be a tiny bit more work for the house constructors, but would enable a lot of control on the electric curcuitry in the house, for better monitoring, safety, and efficiency (which equals savings).

As more power is consumed, more power would be distributed on the network automatically, constantly updating the needed and actually supplied power.

pashute, May 28 2009

Grid 2.0, although grid 1.0 is not yet running correctly http://www.infra20....y-are-they-linked-1
[4whom, Jun 08 2009]

What's the difference between a TED person http://www.ted.com/...ower_outlets_1.html
and a halfbaker? [pashute, Apr 05 2011]

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       So if i turn on the TV, the operators of the plant 200km away notch it up by 289W?
loonquawl, May 28 2009

       But this sort of demand-led supply happens already. When more power is demanded by consumer devices than is being supplied by the power station, this causes the AC frequency to drop. This is monitored by someone, who will bring another power station online. In the UK, the National Grid people are pretty good at predicting spikes in power demand - these are often based on the TV schedules and the assumption that millions of people will turn on their 2kW electric kettles in the commercial breaks.
hippo, May 28 2009

       The way I understand it, the extra power demand does NOT cause a frequency drop because the generators are programmed to increase power just as a load gets on line.   

       Complex and impractical, belongs firmly inside the HB.
neelandan, May 28 2009

       //these are often based on the TV schedules and the assumption that millions of people will turn on their 2kW electric kettles in the commercial breaks. //   

       Similar to the water supply and sewage management, and several hundred thousand people flushing their toilets at the same time.
Veho, May 28 2009

       [pashute] good thinking. There is talk of the Grid 2.0 and even Infrastructure 2.0. see link.   

       Personally I would like to see Education 2.0...
4whom, Jun 08 2009

       So if grid2 proves me right, then why only fishbones. Oh, and what about repent?   

       [4whom] Thanks!!!
pashute, Jun 17 2009

       what you might save is the parasitic power from faults. Other than that AFAIK if you don't use it doesn't get transmitted.
FlyingToaster, Aug 05 2009

       Eh, I don't see the gain. Despite the high voltage of the transmission lines, the wires don't dissipate any measurable wasted energy until a load pulls current. (I'm guessing that the air probably ionizes some milliamps per mile, but I doubt we care about that just yet.)   

kevinthenerd, Aug 07 2009

       Kevinthe are you sure about that? Can you point me to a source that shows that?   

       Can anyone refute that? For some reason, I have the feeling that when neighborhoods are powered, there is a constant down-transmission energy loss. But not sure.   

       And in any case, this would be MUCH safer than circuit breakers.
pashute, Aug 16 2009

       Not really safer than circuit breakers, because how can the controller tell difference between a load produced by a TV, a wiring short, or a finger?


       Some power is generally wasted because power-plants have to slightly overproduce to provide for sudden loads. This idea would not help that much since, even over the miles of wire the response might be nearly instantaneous, the power plant itself is not so. Usually involving very large rotating masses, it is not tunable to watts, and takes sometime to run up or down in speed. Even more if an additional plant has to come on line.
Additionally, that "nearly" instantaneous could still produce a noticeable drop in available power over a large region if a major load came on line (industrial refrigeration unit, arc welder, area would depend on load size) until the response came back.
MechE, Aug 16 2009

       You don't have to turn the motors down, just power down segments of the wiring, and power back up upon demand. The main power station continues to give power as anticipated. Would be a few milliseconds of delay as the computerized handshake takes place.   

       Safer, because (some of) the power lines are not carrying the full power anymore.
pashute, Aug 23 2009


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