The Case for Dumb, Part II

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Lyle says:

    SOme of the advantage depends on the appliances involved. For example if dishwashers and dryers had a delay setting, (start in 2 4 6 hours for example) one could get a lot of time shifting with little trouble. We already have timed thermostats, although in the summer in particular, one might want to change the way they are used, for example take the temp down around noon, so its not cooling the house at 4 pm, but at times of cheaper rates, and more efficiently as well. (note that an AC moves more heat per unit of electricity if the outside temp is lower ,so that at 86 it will be more efficient than at 96. )Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      I’m certainly not opposed to smart appliances, having built The World’s Most Sophisticated Whole-House Fan Controller™. Although one of the design decisions I made with the fan controller is that it would never, ever, turn the fan from “off” to “on” of its own volition. I chatted about potential features with the guy who installed our fan, and he had a number of stories about the “interesting” things that can happen when a fan rated for 5,000 cu ft per minute runs and there are no open windows.Report

  2. Avatar Damon says:

    “Civil libertarians suggest that there are more sinister uses for such data.” You’re damn right I would!

    You don’t need no stinking warrant to view info a customer already gave to the power company, they will turn it over just like the phone companies and the internet companies did. And even if they didn’t, the NSA would tap it, legally or illegally. Information is power, and you damn well gurantee that someone will use that power for their own advantage.

    On the topic of equity, I own the appliances in my house. Me. I determine when and how often I use them. If you want to come into my house and turn them off, we’ll need to talk about how much money you will pay me for the use of my property. And I’m for damn sure not having my appliances networked so I can have my property spy on me in my own damn home.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      I cheerfully admit to being a pessimist about energy supplies in the longish term; enough so that it is easy to dismiss me as part of the lunatic fringe. IMO, between 25 and 50 years from now, it will become clear that the wheels are coming off in parts of the US. As part of the process, intelligent load-shedding will have been adopted as a standard policy. The most desirable form of that is to avoid having to cut things off at the substation level of the grid. Again just an opinion, but where the utility is trying to do something that is finer-grained, customers who do not agree to allow the utility that operates the distribution system to shut down big appliances in some fashion for some period — eg, air conditioners run in a round-robin fashion so only a small number are running at the same time — will simply be shut off entirely at the smart meter. That will be the standard deal for people connected to the grid.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian says:

        @Michael Cain How goes the rain? How are the dams holding up? Has there been any damage to generating capacity?Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain says:

        It’s really ugly up the canyons — it’ll be at least a few days before we find out just how ugly. I’ve got one kid in Fort Collins and the other in Longmont; they report that the Poudre River in Fort Collins and St. Vrain Creek in Longmont were both back in their banks, for now. Flood crest is mostly moving down the South Platte. Biggest worry right now is an upslope cold front backing in late tonight or early tomorrow that’s going to pin the moist air over the foothills and generate enough lift to trigger more rain, possibly as much as four inches in some areas. Since the soil is saturated, all that is going to come right down the same canyons.

        Hydro power is a pretty small slice of the power for the Front Range. Reported power outages have all been distribution plant getting washed out (or de-energized as a precaution if the lines run along the flooding rivers/creeks). No one has said anything about any of the coal or gas generating plants, or the big wind farms, being affected.

        This is the second time this year we’ve had monsoon moisture flow up the east side of the Rockies and get pinned in. That’s normally a very unusual event. And mid-September is late for much in the way of monsoon moisture, too.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Interesting stuff. Maybe I missed this, but why do you think the wheels will come off within 50 years? Presumably product efficiency will advance to some degree in that time frame, and coal supplies are deep. I mean, I agree that if the wheels in fact are coming off the cart then some form of shedding will be necessary, but why think that price alone won’t accomplish that end? For example, it seems to me that if the price difference between peak and non-peak use is sufficiently different that consumers are incented to voluntarily shed, and consumers had access to some type of programmable timer (like a sprinkler system uses) which could run their appliances, a bunch of the same type of shedding could be accomplished without imposing brown outs.Report