We have smart phones, electric cars, intelligent appliances and smart houses—and we’re working on “Smart Cities.” Rapidly expanding technological innovations are nothing short of astounding. At the heart of it all, however, is the power grid.
The current power grid was not designed for today’s demands, which means future innovations, such as smart cities, could be compromised. What changes do we need to ensure our power output keeps pace with modern demands?
To find out more about what researchers are doing to help transform the grid, we asked Dr. Tajana Rosing for her perspective. Dr. Rosing is a professor, a holder of the Fatamico Endowed Chair, and a director of the System Energy Efficiency Lab (SEELab) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
SEELab researchers are collaborative, which allows them to see problems from multiple perspectives. Together with colleagues across disciplines, they are working on smart-grid research, which includes individual load energy reduction and automation, energy storage and energy management. Their research encompasses all aspects of power consumption but, for the purposes of this article, we’ll look at their efforts to improve residential energy consumption through better usage predictions and grid management to support smart cities.
Residential energy consumption represents about 38% of the total energy consumption in the United States and is less-extensively studied by researchers. However, finding efficiencies within this sector is paramount if society wishes to fully capitalize on the quality-of-life improvements promised by the smart-cities concept.