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Comment: Re:No Cheap Power (Score 1) 172

by DamonHD (#48840221) Attached to: The 'Radio Network of Things' Can Cut Electric Bills (Video)

We don't have peak demand from aircon in the UK (GB grid) either. Ours comes on (winter) evenings when, for example, meals are being cooked for kids home from school.

Do you have a link to your utility's site?

Yes, of course you shouldn't take my word on spec over your local guy's, but I'm stubbornly continuing to assert that your local load profile can't be completely flat and with rock-steady frequency even if not as tortured as elsewhere.

For reference here's my 'local' grid (GB) live balancing stats:

http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/b...

I am truly sympathetic to your wish to overcomplicating things and making them more complex and fragile: I just don't think this stuff will be 'over'-complexity for a huge chunk of the purchasers, it will be more like an essential and pay for itself in upfront balancing payments off the purchase cost in many cases.

Here are a few of my wacky ideas on the topic, one of which got me through the first round of a competition sponsored by National Grid and another of which has been discussed with an electricity supplier:

http://www.earth.org.uk/domest...

I will still try to turn some of these into niche (but simple) versions of consumer products. You only buy these ones if they meet a need for you and no one else is lumbered with the extra complexity...

Rgds

Damon

Comment: Re:This "invention" will bring down the grid (Score 1) 172

by DamonHD (#48839873) Attached to: The 'Radio Network of Things' Can Cut Electric Bills (Video)

Goodness, that's rather offhand and completely wrong at lots of levels.

Clearly there a peaks at national and supra-national level. Have a look at some of these for just one example:

http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/b...

Flattening demand would reduce costs of infrastructure that otherwise has to cope with unrestrained peaks; we already do this so it is only a matter of degree and where exactly we do it. Further, allowing demand to follow non-dispatchable load will also help make better use of renewables as well as cope with failure of conventional plant more gracefully.

Also, different parts of the grid will have different problems, eg while the grid may be fine overall at a given moment one substation may be having a torrid time with its much smaller consumer sample, eg that may have a bunch of locals arriving off the same bus or train putting the water for a cuppa, or have a cable fault in one phase, or whatever.

Further, sensible secure schemes will devolve as much as possible of the detailed timing to the appliance so that they cannot all be commanded to 'come on' or 'go off' at once but apply a randomisation algorithm much as Ethernet does for example.

Just because you may have decided up front that there are no good solutions doesn't mean there aren't any. Some of the people that have them know a lot more about stats than you and I both, so can we at least accept that there are entire chunks of maths and computing that have interesting secure distributed randomised algorithms that deal with exactly these sorts of issues all the time?

Rgds

Damon

Comment: Re: Silly assumptions. (Score 1) 172

by DamonHD (#48838749) Attached to: The 'Radio Network of Things' Can Cut Electric Bills (Video)

So, I'm all in favour of efficiency, but it's invariably seen as some kind of left wing conspiracy at least in the US and UK in certain sections of the population and politics.

Thanks to that improved efficiency my (somewhat larger and nicer) fridge/freezer uses half the energy of my previous one and I don't call being gouged on price, for example, though I remain cross with some misrepresentation by the manufacturer.

Our government has been rather cynically watering down building efficiency standards for very short term and minimal savings while condemning people to a future of inflated bills, which it also complains about. Also our trades seem often to regard the care required to improve building performance as an assault on their manliness or something.

Remember also that shifting and reduction are separate worthy goals. A more efficient device that drew all its power at the least good moments would be sub-optimal.

We have to work on all fronts, even if not ideal.

Rgds

Damon

Comment: Re:No thanks. (Score 1) 172

by DamonHD (#48838269) Attached to: The 'Radio Network of Things' Can Cut Electric Bills (Video)

If you want to claim absolute rights to kill or maim others in order not to bother putting a sweater on, then I'd go along with that.

The world is not binary and we don't have absolute rights to do unnecessary things that hurt others.

72F is warmer than I would like a house, and might be foolish if you haven't bothered insulating and/or are expecting others to subsidise you, eg with external effects of burning coal on their health, but I can't really see 72F as being a felony on its own.

Rgds

Damon

Comment: Re:There are certain appliances that this works fo (Score 1) 172

by DamonHD (#48837913) Attached to: The 'Radio Network of Things' Can Cut Electric Bills (Video)

You can only adjust the frequency of the whole grid by adding or removing gigawatts of load (or generation)! Or have the same effect by cutting into someone's mains supply and mucking around with it directly, in which case they might as well blow up all the target's stuff outright!

So the point is is possible to do some stuff with *NO* additional comms or security hazards, and some with some highly secure comms and very constrained changes in behaviour with those comms across the Internet or not. All are useful.

Rgds

Damon

Comment: Re:No thanks. (Score 1) 172

by DamonHD (#48837899) Attached to: The 'Radio Network of Things' Can Cut Electric Bills (Video)

Slippery-slope arguments are rather weak by themselves: what happened if we were to accept any old slippery slope argument, what would happen next?

However, it is true that the energy system is changing, since for all sorts of reasons we can't carry on as we were; one element of the new system will be trying to get people to use preferentially energy when it is abundant and defer use when it is not. ToD pricing and dynamic demand are two likely elements of that.

Rgds

Damon

Comment: Re:No Cheap Power (Score 1) 172

by DamonHD (#48837585) Attached to: The 'Radio Network of Things' Can Cut Electric Bills (Video)

I don't know your situation and location of course but it it highly likely that your utility guy is simply wrong. I'd be most surprised if any significant grid does not need "balancing" services of some sort. Some of those can be provided centrally or distributed over appliances. Both have some costs in terms of energy, and both have other cons and pros.

Tell me more about your service district; I'm intrigued.

Rgds

Damon

Comment: Re: Silly assumptions. (Score 1) 172

by DamonHD (#48837577) Attached to: The 'Radio Network of Things' Can Cut Electric Bills (Video)

You are wrong.

The change from selling more energy to selling services which happen to involve energy is called "decoupling", eg selling streetlighting rather than the energy to run street lights. The market is already changing and demand falling and utilities are up sh*t creek if they don't change to avoid a "death spiral".

Eg http://uk.reuters.com/article/...

Rgds

Damon

Comment: Re:Silly assumptions. (Score 1) 172

by DamonHD (#48837561) Attached to: The 'Radio Network of Things' Can Cut Electric Bills (Video)

The physics is very simple here: not heating/cooling your house takes less energy than doing so constantly, and many heating/cooling systems will work more efficiently somewhere near their maximum output.

If you let temperature drift too far from the set-point that you want then your system may struggle to get back there in time, but it is possible to work back from the set point and time and have the system work out when to come on to get you there ("optimum on" in trade jargon), and also thus the furthest the temperature can be allowed to drift.

Partly that depends on outside temperatures ("weather compensation") and largely it depends on the capacity of your heating/cooling system and how well insulated your house is.

(I try to do some of this very crudely in our OpenTRV device and I'm sure that I do not have it right yet, and I am allowing 3C setback if the system is fairly confident that you are not likely to be around.)

BTW, wholesale electricity prices can go *negative* in extreme cases and up 100x normal at the other end, so though only maybe 50% of your retail bill is the energy cost, there is still plenty of scope for passing on big savings if the user wants to accept time-of-day pricing.

Rgds

Damon

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