9 May 2012
RALEIGH, N.C.–Mike Sinclair stretches a faint smile and puts it plainly:
"one of the issues you have with this new smart grid stuff is that it's not all quite ironed out."
That's a good-news bad-news story: The bad news is challenges abound as we build a smarter grid; the good news is where there are challenges there are opportunities to solve them.
That's what's happening here at the FREEDM Center, North Carolina State's renewable energy research facility. Here, there's a unique public-private partnership happening in research (and not just the standard, "here's a check, go study something" partnership. Within the building industry partners, ABB, Siemens and others have set up shop to be literally next to student researchers. The give-and-take between the public and private sectors can be energizing.
Sinclair, for example is a project manager with Denver-based Green Energy Corp., which builds communications and energy solutions. (GEC’s Total Grid Management system, for example, helps power providers and system integrators to implement smart grid operations systems).
When we visited the FREEDM Center, Sinclair showed us around some of the work being done toward wising up the grid, including solid-state bidirectional transformers, crucial to making the grid "smart."