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

Voltage Levels to IEC 60038

The standard aims to consolidate AC and traction voltages within the industry and defines the following bands: band 1 - A.C. systems 100 V to 1...

Photovoltaic (PV) Panel - Performance Modelling

In an earlier note on the site [Photovoltaic (PV) - Electrical Calculations], the theory of solar (PV) cell calculations was introduced.  In particular...

Battery Sizing

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

Voltage Drop in Installations - Concepts

Problems on achieving maximum voltage drop within an installation come up often. Depending where you live, local regulations will have different limits...

Software Usage Guidelines

Using software in our  work is essential for most of us and we are becoming even more dependant on it's use.  While software is a great asset, many times...

Capacitor Theory

Capacitors are widely used in electrical engineering for functions such as energy storage, power factor correction, voltage compensation and many others...

Fault Calculations - Introduction

Fault calculations are one of the most common types of calculation carried out during the design and analysis of electrical systems. These calculations...

Meeting room of the future

The IET site has a video of a visit showing of a high tech meeting room developed at Napier University in Edinburgh. It a good demonstration of innovative...

Back to basics - the Watt (or kW)

When thinking about watts (W) or kilowatt (kW = 1000 W) it can be useful too keep in mind the fundamental ideas behind the unit. Watt is not a pure electrical...

How to refer fault levels across a transformer

Over the past year or so I've been involved in on going discussions related to referring fault levels from the secondary of a transformer to the primary...

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