Friday, December 18, 2009

Korea's "Smart Grid" Plans

South Korea plans to be the first country in the world to convert its electricity network into so-called "smart grids," as noted by a story in The Korea Times.  Korea plans to implement its high-tech nationwide electricity grid by 2030, at a projected cost of $23.3 billion.  The new grid should help the country reduce power consumption by 3 percent and cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 150 million tons.
A smart grid links electricity suppliers with consumers in an IP-based network.  Many countries are striving toward the goal of having smart grid technology.   Stakeholders in the United States have identified the following performance characteristics of smart grid technology.

  • Self healing from power disturbance events.
  • Enabling active participation by consumers in demand response.
  • Operating resiliently against physical and cyber attack.
  • Providing power quality for 21st century needs.
  • Accommodating all generation and storage options.
  • Enabling new products, services and markets.
  • Optimizing assets and operating efficiently.
A simple example of how the smart grid will work is that it will allow home or apartment owners to schedule their washing machines or other appliances to run when electricity rates are lowest.  This is the same principle as the "night-rate electricity boilers" that are so popular for ondol heating systems and hot water in Korea.  The smart-grid will be accessible from both mobile and fixed broadband internet, so people could be able to make adjustments to their home appliances via a mobile handset.
Residents of Jeju Island will get the first glimpse of the possibilities offered by smart grids.  KEPCO and 167 other companies are collaborating to build the nation's first smart-grid test bed

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