I'm no expert on it, but I think you're right. I'd assumed the article was talking about something similar - but looking again at it, it's not clear whether "The Federal Communications Commission is working toward drafting rules in January to formalize the IP transition — switching communications systems to Internet protocol." is talking about replacing the core network (as 21CN was supposed to do), actually scrapping voice service completely or something else. Scrapping voice would seem to be an overreaction - if nothing else you could supply equipment to the subscribers to give them the same service, just over IP.
Which is fine if you're in one of the few places which has fibre, but not terribly useful anywhere else. And DSL is a hell of a lot better than mobile data.
Indeed so, I often have trouble understanding people on cell phones.
But it's not as though landlines are great sounding - G.711 isn't exactly high fidelity. Of course, to use anything better we'd need to have digital all the way to the home - but then we've got that for internet access.
Here in the UK, the major phone compant (BT) had a big plan to roll out a new network (21CN) to integrate all data & voice services on a new IP based network. After much fanfare they quietly dropped the voice part, which as far as I know is still running on the old circuit switched hardware. Apparently it's not so easy.
Because you usually sit much closer to a monitor than a TV?
Those that risk their savings to purse a business are entitled to a fat profit.
Why? There's nothing more virtuous about that than working as a normal employee. Less, arguably - making money using your existing money is surely less morally deserving than making money by working for it.
I'm sure you'll say that you mean to work for it too - but you must also expect profits from employing others, or you wouldn't be complaining about this proposal. And if you want to take advantage of other people's labour, you can play by the rules society gives you or go home.
If you're employing people then the money you make is not purely your own doing, is it? And if you don't, the restriction doesn't apply. So no problem.
There's no fundamental right to a fat profit.
Energy lost in transmission is about 7%, not 50%.
Yes, but software failures like this are a very rare cause of accidents. Vastly more common is human error, which your classic car won't help with. However when some human cockup results in a crash you'll be more likely to be injured or killed thanks to the much poorer crash safety of old cars. This will easily outweigh the tiny reduction in risk from having no software.
Imagine if you could tell your car that it only needed 30% charge during the week because you were only going back and forth to work, so the other 70% could be sold back to the grid for a profit. The car and the smart grid automatically negotiate. On Friday the car makes sure it gets up to 100% so you can take that long weekend drive.
Sell back to the grid? If I had an electric car, I wouldn't be inclined to wear out the batteries (which have a finite life in terms of number of charge cycles) doing this.I once did a back of the envelope calculation using typical lifespan data for Li-ion batteries - I'd have to sell back at a ridiculously high price to justify the loss of battery life. And even practical storage schemes like pumped storage hydro need to sell at a higher price than they buy - a cost that typically isn't included in the cost of electricity estimates of wind and solar (which is fair enough as it's too dependent on other factors, but something that needs to be considered). Moot point though, as electric cars will stay uneconomic unless there's an huge and unexpected drop in battery costs or oil prices skyrocket.
We can only predict demand for large regions, not locally.
That's all we need, thanks to the grid averaging out demand fluctuations over space. The high reliability of the current grid is evidence for that.
Thing is that is never, every does die down for hours or days. At least, not everywhere.
Really? I've seen it happen on UK grid monitoring webpages (e.g. here)- wind generation under 10% of total installed capacity for hours at a time is quite common. In fact output varies quite savagely, presumably due to the cube-law dependence of output on wind speed. People often claim that "the wind is always blowing somewhere", but the data suggests "not enough it isn't".
With something like wind and individual turbine failing will drop maybe 20MW. Wind speed changes slowly, so if it is 20 knts now it won't be less than 18 or 19 knts in 20 minutes time, giving plenty of opportunity to spool up other sources.
Which other sources though? Renewables (except hydro and biomass, which are limited) can't be spooled up, they either generate or not depending on the availability of the resource. You can predict that you won't have power, but then you need to do something about it. Turning fridges off will only help on a much shorter timescale.
In contrast, handling a power station failure is a solved problem with the existing grid, as are demand surges. Solving problems that have already been solved isn't a compelling reason for something.
Any average, ordinary person would be put to sleep if you started describing what you do for a living. If a programmer has even an once of social skills, they learn to not talk about their job with the average Joe.
That's true of most jobs. How many people want to hear about the details of accountancy, plumbing, corporate law or secretarial work, for example?
Plumbers and mechanics generally work on things other people have designed. Repair/technician work needs far less thought and understanding than engineering & design does. You can learn how to do mechanic work in fairly little time - I went from not knowing anything about cars to being able to do all my maintenance and repairs (so far) in hardly any time at all. Can I do it as quickly and effectively as a professional mechanic? No. But I can do it, whereas I doubt anyone could learn to design and build a complicated piece of software in such a short time.
You are right that we try to balance load, but we are not very good at it. For example electricity is cheap at night but most people's hot water heaters come on during the day just before they need to use it. A well insulated storage tank can easily use cheap off-peak electricity and store that energy for later, especially if the grid itself can tell it when it is best to turn the heater on. At 2AM there might be a little drop in the local wind capacity, but we know it will pick up by 4AM, so the heater can just wait.
OK, but this isn't much "smarter" than the current off-peak system, and I very much doubt that anyone with an off peak tariff and an electric storage heater will run the heater at peak times unless the stored water runs out. That defeats the whole point of storage heating. Not to mention that using electric heating instead of gas just so you have somewhere to dump excess production is quite spectacularly inefficient and costly.
Water heaters will be partially replaced by solar anyway. Solar thermal heating is incredibly efficient and works even on heavily overcast days. Even when the sky is cloudy about 80% of the sun's energy still reaches the surface of the earth, and solar thermal can be 75% efficient.
Forgot to mention - according to this link, a typical solar water heating system will cost £4800 and save £60 per year. In other words, uneconomic - you'd never pay back the costs given typical interest rates. The system can't replace a conventional heater, only supplement it, so you don't even save on the capital costs of your gas or electric heater.
This is what I mean - stuff that sounds good superficially but just doesn't add up under closer scrutiny.
Well, it's not that hard to understand, and it's not really my fault if you can't be bothered to find out about it. A smart grid is able to react to changing power availability and demands quickly. Say there is a momentary spike in usage, the smart grid can ask devices with a lot of thermal mass to back off a little if it won't cause them any problems, e.g. a fridge gaining 0.1C over ten minutes.
Momentary spikes in usage aren't the problem though - the existing grid can cope with these already. The problem is variation in supply - e.g. if the wind dies down for hours or days, or solar being unavailable at night or in the winter months. How will it help with this?
There is also the ability to much more accurately predict demand and supply through monitoring and reporting.
We're already good at accurate demand prediction - it's important in order to plan & control the output of current power stations.
All that means you need less standby capacity
How? This hasn't been shown.Turning fridges off for 15 minutes isn't going to help with the timescales that solar/wind/etc. intermittency operates on.
This is what I mean by "hand wave" - just words, no numbers or data, and the words aren't convincing. No, I don't expect full detail in a Slashdot post but I haven't seen it anywhere and it's not for lack of looking.
It's about reducing energy consumption by making buildings more efficient and building a smart grid that can manage the load and store energy.
That would be fine if the smart grid advocates ever got beyond a hand-wave "smart grid magically fixes intermittency" statement. Exactly *how* is this supposed to happen? We already have mechanisms for spreading the load (off-peak tariffs and so forth). The only technology that is even vaguely economic for storage is pumped storage hydro, which is limited in where you can put it and costs money. And building insulation isn't going to help with electicity as electricity generally isn't used for building heating precisely because it's a lot more expensive than gas.
1) Hydrogen can't be piped through pipelines of any non-trivial length. Well, technically you can make hydrogen leak-proof pipeline but then you can burn dollar bills for heating.
Before natural gas became wideley used it was common to pipe "coal gas" into people's houses. That was typically ~ 50% hydrogen. Does piping pure hydrogen present that much more of a challenge?