The GE Ecomagination Challenge:
Powering the Grid is focused on finding and developing new and better technologies, processes and business models involving renewable energy resources, grid efficiency and ecoHomes and ecobuildings. We are looking for new, more efficient ways to create, connect and use energy by building a more intelligent grid.
Challenge 1: Create - Renewable Energy
Renewable energy holds extraordinary potential for helping us create the energy to meet our growing needs. But many forms of renewable energy are highly variable in their output. This is where a more intelligent grid comes in, integrating and managing renewable energy sources.
At GE, we’re developing technologies that protect the quality of power, compensating for voltage fluctuations, and managing output intermittency. We want to provide utilities with better information about energy production, transmission, consumption and energy system health to help them protect equipment and ensure safe, reliable power.
Making the best use of the energy created by renewable resources is critical to a reliable supply of affordable energy. What kinds of technologies or processes do you think will maximize the penetration of renewables into the grid?
Challenge 2: Connect - Grid Efficiency
The U.S. should have the most efficient grid in the world. But we don’t. Our grid wastes energy at every point during every day. The solution is to connect advanced power generation to a more intelligent and more efficient grid -- that then connects with consumers.
GE is looking at different grid technologies that help lower delivery losses and those that anticipate and monitor demand. Reducing losses frees up grid capacity, reduces the need for infrastructure capital expenditure, and protects consumers from steep rate increases. Reducing voltage eliminates the over-delivery of energy, so customers are not paying for unused energy.
In terms of technology, processes and policy, what do you think are the best means to help us realize greater gains in grid efficiency and outage management?
Challenge 3: Use - EcoHomes/EcoBuildings
Energy consumption is growing so quickly that it’s creating an imbalance between demand and supply. This mismatch short-circuits power production and distribution, leading to higher energy costs for consumers and businesses. We need to change how, and when, we use energy.
We’re looking at many promising technologies to help power companies and their customers share information and manage their energy use better.
At GE, we are already working on a wide range of promising technologies, including smart meters and appliances that let consumers’ appliances “talk” to their power utility; wireless AMI; home area networks; renewable integration tools; demand response systems; home energy use monitoring; time-of-use pricing; plug-in hybrid electric vehicle integration; and neighborhood micro grids.
What new technologies, processes or business models can help consumers use energy more wisely and improve our energy balance?
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