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FOCUS: Smart Grid 2011

11/1/2011 | German House New York

Smart Grid – How to Escape Power Outages in Times of Rising Energy Usage

As part of the annual Smart Grid Focus Series, this event highlighted the most important developments in the next generation of the electrical grid.

One of the benefits of living in New York City is that we have functioning infrastructure. Subways run 24 hours, there is free Wi-Fi in Bryant Park and at most coffee and laundry places, and we can charge our phones, laptops, music players and even electric cars at any outlet at any time. But what happens when we all want to pop some popcorn at 8 PM for movies and all our neighbors also plug-in their environment friendly electric cars simultaneously at 7:58 PM two minutes before the primetime movies starts? We might have another blackout!

That’s why the operators of New York’s electric grid have unveiled a $74 million “smart grid” initiative to enhance energy efficiency. Just two months ago The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) broke ground for a $35.5 million control center across the Hudson River as part of the smart grid initiative to match electricity production with consumer demand.

“There has been a paradigm shift” says Marc Bellinger, Vice President of Business Development and Government Relations for Infineon Technologies North America. Having worked in the US-Car industry for over 20 years, he now specializes at Infineon on the parts needed for smart meters functioning like processors for PCs. But companies like Infineon as much as Deutsche Telekom Group and IBM, which all joined the discussion, are looking also for solutions to match consumption with energy generation with a focus on the consumer.

Bernt C. Klein, Senior Vice President, Americas of Deutsche Telekom Group (DETECON), painted a larger picture of the smart grid industry: “There is no infrastructure yet for an Information Communication Technology-Knowledge, but the developments here can tackle Climate Change and overcome emission. We expect 350 Million globally installed smart meters by 2016.” His vision for the future is that each consumer can manage their energy consumption on devices like smart phones in real-time and won’t have to wait until the end of the month when utility bills arrive.

Smart meters are electronic and enable two-way communication between the meter and the central system.

Pike Research, a market research and consulting firm on global clean technology markets, estimates that shipments of smart meters were 17.4 million units for the first quarter of 2011 and in October 2009 the Obama administration granted a $4 billion stimulus fund especially for smart grid projects where the most important outcome will be the installation of more smart meters.

“Money is in consulting,” was Jurij Paraszczak’s roundup after he gave an overview of the “Energy-Value-Chain” that has been the center point in each of the panelist presentations.

Paraszczak is Director of IBM Research Industry Solutions and the leader of the Research Smarter Cities program, focusing on helping cities manage the complex set of demands and the optimization of flows of energy, people and water through this infrastructure.

“There is a lot of ingenuity of what a smart grid has to do. Deregulation and investment through different industries will bring the needed change,” beliefs Bernt Klein of Detecon with his two decades of international experience in consumer electronics companies such as Siemens and Bosch.

Text provided by German American Chamber of Commerce New York.

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  • Featured Speakers

    • Dr. Joann Halpern (Welcome Remarks)

      Director, German Center for Research and Innovation

    • Mark A. Bellinger

      Vice President of Business Development and Government Relations Infineon Technologies North America Corp.

    • Bernt C. Klein

      Senior Vice President, Americas, DETECON, Inc., Deutsche Telekom Group

    • Dr. Kurt Becker (Jury Chair)

      Vice Dean for Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, Professor in the Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and in the Dept. of Applied Physics, NYU Tandon School of Engineering