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Smart Grid, Competitive analysis (April 2009)

  • Apr 2nd, 2009

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powerlinesSo far information technology has had a fairly small impact on the energy infrastructure,” says Pacific Northwest National Laboratory scientist Rob Pratt. “That’s about to change.”  (P Mazza – Climate Solutions, 2002 – gridwise.pnl.gov)

This is a presentation I made for a competitive intelligence course at the UT School of Information based on research into the smart grid industry. This was a great project and If I had spent another 30 or 40 hours this information would be excellent but for now it is at least worth a read. The bulk of the data gathered for this project is contained in this spreadsheet. Some of the information is very much an estimation either because Hoover’s data can be sketchy or the larger institutions are opaque concerning revenue or the employee count for particular divisions. Where available the data was pulled from CapIQ’s excellent business data service, the Book of Lists data products or from the websites of the companies themselves. I tried to make notes where applicable regarding the info in the spreadsheet. Enjoy and feel free to reuse any of this data for your own purposes. ~sb

Smart Grid Market in early 2009

Our existing legacy power grids are straightforward power creation and distribution systems composed of electricity generators and electricity consumers connected by technology fundamentally unchanged since the early 20th century. As a consumer draws electricity from the grid the generators must respond to meet the load in real time. The generators send power to substations and route it to homes and businesses. There is a startling lack of information, control or buffering available in this process. Grid operators have no information beyond the substations and power company employees still physically travel to consumer endpoints and record energy consumption from meters. The only usage information made available to consumers is in their bill each month. The power grid as it exists is inefficient and it is not ready to integrate the wealth of renewable energy resources and distributed generation patterns that will define the energy landscape in coming years.

The term “Smart Grid“ has become a catchall term used to describe a confluence of products and services designed to add intelligence to the legacy grid described above. It is all about adding sensing, communication, analysis, feedback and control to our existing systems to improve efficiencies and environmental impacts.

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