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General Electric's smart grid scarecrow.
General Electric is using this computer-animated 'Scarecrow' character take-off from the Wizard of Oz to highlight their involvement in the development of smart grid technology.

Responsibly Charging Tomorrow's Electric Cars

Gridpoint's Karl Lewis on the challenge of plugging in millions of cars

By EV World Television

One of the centerpieces of the Obama Administration's energy program is the development of a "smart grid." The recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 contains $4.3 billion in funding for modernizing the nation's electric power grid, including $100 million in smart-grid related worker training.

But both are no more than down payments on what will be needed over the next 20 years in infrastructure investments, a sum The Brattle Group put at $2 trillion, with $880 billion needed for transmission and distribution system expansion and improvements.

Of course, the introduction of plug-in electric vehicles and gradual spread of more distributed, neighborhood/community level smart networks might reduce the need for some of that money. But to benefit from the energy storage potential of electric-drive cars and trucks, the grid and those vehicles need to "get a brain" and they need to start talking to one another.

That is where a company like GridPoint comes in. They are developing the software systems that can enable future electric cars like the Chevy Volt to communicate with the utility, as demonstrated in a closing video that Karl Lewis, GridPoint's Chief Strategy Officer, played at the conclusion of his keynote address at the 2008 Electric Drive Transportation Association conference and expo in Washington, D.C. last December.

In the 23-minute program above, he discusses the scope of the challenge that lies ahead as we seek to rely more and more on the electric power industry to provide the energy to move increasing shares of our transportation system. The video at the end of his talk features a company technician in Seattle, Washington successfully controlling the charge of a battery at General Motors' research facilities in Warren, Michigan via the Internet, proving the feasibility of the concept, while showing how far we have still to go.

EV World extends its thanks to the EDTA for permitting us to record Mr. Lewis' presentation and sharing it with EV World viewers.

Times Article Viewed: 7983
Published: 01-Apr-2009

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