Research Videos

Smart Grid, Smart Planet

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Imagine a time in the not too distant future when your power comes from a seamless mix of renewable energy and traditional sources. It is delivered by a grid that manages thousands of windmills and hundreds of thousands of customers.

Computer controlled, the grid is be able to manage instant variations in supply and demand and provides a real time power balance.

Far more complex than anything in existence today it is called a smart grid.

Smart grid is the latest energy catch phrase, and far from being science fiction, a working prototype has been developed by Professor Felix Wu of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Hong Kong.

Smart grid technology is a new frontier in power supply and seen as a green solution to current outdated management systems. When introduced smart grids will result in energy savings and will allow consumers a choice in their electricity charges and to be able to select the cheapest time slots.

The difficulty for the energy industry is that smart grids do not exist in reality and the power companies cannot experiment with existing supplies.

Without an actual grid to conduct research on Professor Wu has had to design a simulated laboratory including input from theoretical wind generators and solar panels to feed into a constantly operating system. For an authentic approach he and his researchers have built various types of equipment failures into the grid to test the system.

And it works.

Not only is the smart grid designed to enhance energy efficiency it is also designed to be self-healing as Professor Wu and his team explain in this short video.