15

Future of the Smart Grid

The energy of the mind is the essence of life.

—Aristotle

15.1 Introduction

This chapter explores the evolution of the power grid beyond what was seen on the horizon for smart grid in mid-decade of 2010. This chapter is a chance to envision what the future might hold. We can extrapolate some of the trends seen in power systems and communication, and learn from the technical evolution that has occurred in other fields as well. Thus, this is a both a risky and a fun chapter to think about. There are as many views regarding how the power grid will evolve as there are experts in different fields related to power and communications – which are numerous. In the future view proposed by this chapter, we consider a few core themes. First, both power generation and management will become more ubiquitous and refined to the point that it requires a change in scale, from microgrids to nanogrids. Increasingly smaller scale power management will require small-scale communication, which we also consider here. Aligned with the notion of ubiquitous power, we also consider an increase in ease and flexibility in transporting power; namely, wireless power transmission. The idea that one will have to push a plug into a socket and remain tethered to a power cord will seem strange, quite inconvenient, and primitive. The idea that long cables had to be draped across the planet will also seem equally strange and perhaps ridiculous.

Before considering the future of the power ...

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