Smarter Electrical Distribution 

By on

The other day I came across an article in Technology Review on the development of a smart transformer. A professor at North Carolina State University is developing a transistor based transformer capable of coping with both dc and ac and of directing power to where it is required. His idea is to shuffle power around the grid in the same way that the internet intelligently moves data around.

The interesting thing from this is that people are starting to address the way we move power around. There is a lot of talk about renewable energy such as solar and wind, but less talk in utilizing this on a large scale. One of the problems with renewable generation is that it is not continuous; you need the sun to be out for solar power to work. Contrast this with our consumption habits of wanting power available on demand twenty four hours a day. As reliance on renewable energy continues to increase this mismatch between generation and demand is going to get worse.

While the smart transformer may or may not be a component in future smarter distribution systems it is obvious that how we utilize power will need to change.

Steven McFadyen's avatar Steven McFadyen

Steven has over twenty five years experience working on some of the largest construction projects. He has a deep technical understanding of electrical engineering and is keen to share this knowledge. About the author

myElectrical Engineering

comments powered by Disqus

Electromechanical Relays

Electromechanical relays have been the traditional backbone of electrical protection systems.  While over recent years these have been replaced by microprocessor...

Maxwell's Equations - Introduction

Maxwell's Equations are a set of fundamental relationships, which govern how electric and magnetic fields interact. The equations explain how these fields...

What happened to the cable notes?

If you are wondering what happened to our cable notes, the short answer is that we have moved them to  The "Knowledge Base" at...

Battery Sizing

This article gives an introduction to IEEE 485 method for the selection and calculation of battery capacity.


When current flows within a wire, a magnetic field is created. The potion of this magnetic field perpendicular to the wire is called the magnetic flux...

Photovoltaic (PV) - Utility Power Grid Interface

Photovoltaic (PV) systems are typically more efficient when connected in parallel with a main power gird. During periods when the PV system generates energy...

ABB Technical Guides - Motor Operation

ABB has produced a range of technical guides that offer concise explanations of the major technologies and technical issues in low voltage AC drives. ...

Capacitors - Energy Storage Application

Capacitors have numerous applications in electrical and electronic applications.  This note examines the use of capacitors to store electrical energy....

Lighting - Lamps

Lamps are the essential part of any luminaire. These are the light generating components. Since the advent of electrical lighting in the middle of the...

Windows Live Writer and myElectrical

When making adding a Note to our site we have a great online WYSIWYG editor and things are pretty simple.  However, if you prefer you can write, manage...

Have some knowledge to share

If you have some expert knowledge or experience, why not consider sharing this with our community.  

By writing an electrical note, you will be educating our users and at the same time promoting your expertise within the engineering community.

To get started and understand our policy, you can read our How to Write an Electrical Note