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The future of the power grid

We are living in a transient period today concerning how to create and how to use electricity. As the solar panels are cheaper and cheape...

We are living in a transient period today concerning how to create and how to use electricity. As the solar panels are cheaper and cheaper, the solar-powered electricity becomes the conventional method to produce electricity. Electricity can be created in big, industrial solar farms. However, the household generated solar electric power could revolutionize how we think about energy. We can have it, we can create it, we can own it. The self-sustained energy households are liberated from the outside power. Ultimately, the energy becomes free.

This technological evolution is not just for saving money, it is for saving the environment too. The transition is necessary and inevitable.

What will happen with the industry, which creates and distributes energy? Become obsolete? Not necessarily or at least not entirely. Society won't be needed fossil energy, and we must be rid of it anyway. However, convenient industrial power plants and the power grid, which is distributing electric energy can survive if it finds the goal of its existence. What goal can it be?

Today, electric energy mostly created in big power plants and distributed by the power grid. When a household turns to solar power, it is recommended to keep the connection to the grid and use it as an external battery. If the household creates more electricity than it needed, it can be transferred and sold to the grid, and when creates less than it needed, it can be brought and bought from the grid. This method has a significant flaw. It creates an unmanageable system. As more and more household turns to solar power, the grid will become unstable and will oscillate between the overcharged and undercharged states. It is necessary to find a way to puffer the system on the whole, which is a technologically demanding and expensive solution, and it is against the concept of free energy.

The other applied method today for using solar power is to have enough local storage to puffer the difference between the demand and availability of solar electric power. This method would make the whole power grid obsolete, but requires an oversized local system to prepare for the worst-case scenario and still could lead to low power situations.

However, there is a possible solution to optimize the solar-powered system, keep its advantages, and handle its drawbacks. And the core of it is the already available power grid system.

According to this proposal, the power grid should change its function. Its function today is to transport energy between households and power plants. The new function would be, to distribute the available electric energy between the households by actively managing the demand and availability among the connected users.

How this system builds up?
The households create solar energy, and they need to have local electric storage too. However, they are not needed to be scaled to the worst-case scenario. The households in the local vicinity connect to a local distribution center (an electronic machine secured to the existing poles) through the grid. The distribution centers are connected to each other through the grid as well. Industrial power plants may be needed and connected to the global grid too.

How this system works?
The households produce and use solar electric power. When a household produces more than what it needs, stores it in local batteries. If a household produces more energy than it can use and can store, it sends it to the local distribution center. The local distribution center sees where are available storages in the vicinity, and route the extra power to there for storage. Contrary, when a local household is getting low in electric energy, it can send a request to the local distribution center to reroute electric power from the neighboring households, where it is more available.

The nearby local distribution centers are connected together, so they can manage and distribute energy between the local groups too, in case of demand or availability.

The local distribution centers even can advise how to modify, how to scale a locally connected household's solar power system, according to its frequent demand or extra production of electricity. The distribution centers can optimize the local user's system.

In the case of extra demands from the local groups, existing grid-connected industrial power plants still need to be available to make the system stable, at least until the whole system built up and optimized.

The whole system built on the existing power grid network, with no need for extra infrastructure.

It worth considering using low voltage DC locally, instead of using high voltage AC in this system.

What are the advantages of this system?
The proposed system provides an easily manageable, fault-tolerant, easy to scale power system.

It provides the flexibility of extending the system. It can be built up in steps starting with local neighborhoods as individual cells.

As the system grows, less and less industrial power plants are needed to stabilize the network. The big, high power industrial power plants can be turned off step by step until only the on-demand power plants remain. At the end of the transient period, they become unnecessary too.

The system is fault-tolerant, and won't crush in the case of overload. Because the system built up from self-sustained local cells, global overload is not a danger.

The local distribution centers can work autonomously, the whole system works automatically.

Because the network is decentralized and has no center, this feature prevents from hostile outside attack, which could take over the control. It is a rising danger in centralized systems.

In the case of a disaster, the system in whole remain functional, only damaged local groups would fall, which can easily be separated from the global network. Even a major disaster could not crash the whole system, the system can work in separate islands too.

The proposed power grid network could be a solution to the challenges of today's changing and transitional electric power system.

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