★ Climate Change ★ The Smart Grid ★
“Hey, it’s me.” – David Conner, the guy without enough money to open a bank account who made less than $400 in 2016 and $1717 in 2015. The guy without enough skill to be employable in America or, at least, to break through being virtually blacklisted by negative career experience.
Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC) have different qualities making them useful in consumer electronics. Our electric grid utilizes AC to transmit power long distances because it’s more efficient in doing so than DC. Thanks to Tesla, we didn’t have to deal with GE’s plan for local DC switching facilities in a pure DC electric grid. Incidentally, the power grid of the 21st century looks a lot more like GE’s plan. However, GE, Westinghouse, Siemens and the other juggernauts of 20th century electronics never could have implemented their plan for locally switched DC without digital electronics. They also lacked computers to algorithmically design circuits and identify optimal parameters for standardization.
The divide between AC and DC moves from the endpoint of consumer technology (i.e. transformers, such as power supplies or adapters) to the consumer’s house or building. During the infrastructure transition, AC remains prevant and DC is used to distribute electricity generated by renewables. The consumer mostly accesses DC power through an inverter, but further into the transition, it makes more sense to begin designing consumer electronics to tap into DC power directly.
These hybrid electric designs bridge the gap for renewables to connect into a consumer’s home. They are required as the seeds of a viable product platform for renewables. Otherwise, renewables aren’t very marketable to homes and offices. Renewables require a change in the consumer electric grid – large changes in the electric framework running through their home and office. Otherwise, renewables simply can’t be marketed to customers.
For example, the Tesla Powerwall can be easily connected to renewables such as solar, but isn’t so easily integrated into a consumer’s home AC circuits. Not in any inexpensive or simple way. However, if a consumer’s home is fully DC, everything connects quite simply – the Tesla storage battery and any renewables that charge it. Therefore there’s going to be a huge technological shift in the parts of the electric grid connect to your home and office. The divide between AC & DC will be pushed further out. Until the actual electric grid infrastructure can be replaced, DC networks will be pushed from the consumer side to the POD (Point of Demarcation).
All this in-home and in-office infrastructure change is exorbitant. How do we know that the trend in consumer adoption will resist price pressure? Prices of these goods are effectively inflated from cost structures of infrastructure modifications and sales are limited until the platform of infrastructure is established. These are tough business problems to be sure. They will take decades to overcome, but they are not prohibitive. To most efficiently use power from renewables and products like the Tesla Powerwall or to sell it back to the electric grid, one needs to replace their in-home circuitry to handle DC power. DC is more efficiently distributed locally and the infrastructure is more modular with DC power routing in place. The higher the price of energy, the higher the incentive for accelerating this change in infrastructure on the consumer side.
In countries with highly developed economies, the evolution of the smart-grid will be ironically slower, as there are major headaches replacing the infrastructure. To ensure that American interests become leaders in the manufacture, design and marketing of smart-grid technology, we need to ensure that there are plenty of stable markets in developing nations.
The smart grid enables centralized analysis of resource consumption and other IoT signals. Just like with the internet, the money is in mining the data produced by users. This enables amazing features such as fairly pricing electricity fed back into the grid. However, spectral analysis and pattern mining on these signals leads surveillance to apporach a state of completeness in its degree to map out individuals lives.
Using spectral analysis techniques, you can process the power utilization patterns at the consumer’s central connection to the POD to identify activities in their home. This is especially true if you have explicit power utilization metadata is relayed through the DC switching fabric back to a central point. Again, even if the metadata isn’t explicit, many of the same metrics can be inferred by tapping into the signal on the line. These metrics produce more characteristically identifiable signals on DC than on AC, I think. These signals can be matched to some finite list of consumer electronics signal patterns.
Math … and lots of it. It’s not easy, but theoritcally possible.
With power utilization signals and IoT devices, every time you microwave a hot pocket or flush the toilet, these events are emitted in signals, then processed and analyzed by a multitude of internet-connected services. Sorry, at this point, you can’t even take a poop without the government knowing how much water was displaced.
There is a major difference in qualitative magnitude between this and prior major technological advancements. Signals-based analysis on IoT data and the surveillance based on it plateau into a degree of completeness surpassing everything seen until we have a working brain-computer interface. These require nanotechnology. The smart grid lands us at a point of diminishing returns in the ratio of qualitative analytical insight and the quantity/types of data signals produced.
Before we advance further, society needs to have a real discussion on the sociocultural impact of technology and surveillance. 2015 and 2016 were abysmal in terms of the quality of discussion on this issue. Our society simply hasn’t deliberated enough on the qualitative effects on life. Surveillance and technology have been rammed down our throats under the pretense of national security, which preemptively short-circuits any real discussion with fear-mongering and propaganda tactics. Everything is unnecessarily secret with zero indication that your life is being affected when it is. I did not anticipate surveillance’s ability to enable & augment systematic harassment and gaslighting. How can we say we know how surveillance affects our life when citizens are never notified when it’s used to harass, intimidate and extort them?
Why are we normalizing this? Is it really necessary to catch Bin Laden to record Americans jacking off without their knowledge. Wow Homeland … In what country is the war on terror being fought?
Researchers across the world are revitalizing their interests in power grid technology. They are solving electrical engineering problems that otherwise lay dormant for decades. It’s a revitalized area of research. To Cisco networking enthusiasts, one particularly interesting area of this research is power packet routing. To the layman, power packet routing combines the internet and electric power distribution, so your devices can be connected to the internet by simply being plugged in to power. This helps IoT devices quite a bit because they usually require an external power source, unless solar works.
There will be major economic opportunities in the route/switch hardware used for smart grid packet switching, if this is the direction infrastructure evolution takes. The hardware, software and business models would strongly mirror developments in telecom. This will essentially be the third generation of telecom switching, where the first was telecom/PBX and the second was internet route/switch gear. Every home or office that wants to tap into renewables will need some of this equipment. In America and other nations with complete electrical grids, this infrastructure will undergo several several major design iterations.
Depending on the rollout of other technologies and relevant consumer behavior, some aspects of smart grid technology may not become anything more than a good idea. The correct answer here is simplicity and the problem is designing the next generation of consumer electronics. Design iteration on these consumer electronics is incredibly expensive, almost as expensive as maintaining backwards compatibility. Whether the benefits of new infrastructure outweigh the costs of implementation in developed countries will determine whether these technologies will become mainstream.
Power packet switching requires layers of gear similar to Cisco routers and switches. Furthermore, TDMA-like protocols can send power and digitized data over the same channel by using something like an ethernet frame that accompanies a pulse-width regulated burst of power. Enabling this to work with various voltages, amperages and wattages requires either incredibly complicated component design or standardization of power distribution components and interfaces for consumer electronics. What would routing protocols look like for DC networks? This paper from Kyoto in 2015 explores further: Router for Power Packet Distribution Network: Design and Experimental Verification.
The problems that electrical engineers are solving to create tomorrow’s smart-grid are incredibly complicated and just as urgent for American industry to succeed in the global economy from 2020 through 2040. It is critical to get this right and there are singularly correct answers to overarching design patterns here. There always are. Whether the correct answers mesh well with the economics of both smart-grid rollout and renewables is an enigma. Green issues and climate change policy will have a huge effect on the apparent solutions in the smart-grid infrastructure discussion.
For more detail on research conducted in this field, check out this IEEE publication: IEEE Transactions on Power Systems. Most of those studies require payment to access, but that’s where you can find all the critical research being done.
Here is a good introduction into some of the high-level design concepts used to determine viable smart-grid topologies: A Review of Architectures and Concepts for Intelligence in Future Electric Energy Systems. To understand more about shifting the divide between AC and DC, read this IEEE publication: DC Local Power Distribution: Technology, Deployment, and Pathways to Success.
Quantum networking (QN) is like the Ansible from Ender’s Game. QN has incredibly niche applications. It’s penetration into hardware will be determined by its cost and technical requirements, like superconduction. However, it can cause radically differently hardware and software design patterns to emerge. It is especially useful in geographically distributed systems such as GPS, the smart grid or smart cars, when overcoming the speed of light matters. It’s use as a clock-synching mechanism would be ubiquitous, if technical limitations could be transcended.
QN will allow for the instantaneous desemination of power grid state. Machine-learning algorithms can be more efficient when managing the distribution of power because they never have to query distant systems for status or wait for state to be synced before making a decision. Quantum networking could be used in cubesats for the activation of networked resillience to EMP. As soon as one cubesat experiences EMP, it broadcasts a warning to other satellites networked in the same quantum comm. channel. These satellites can immediately activate a cheap, as-needed faraday cage, retaining operational capability through an EMP blast.
Those who don’t understand the engineering limitations imposed by special relativity or assume quantum networking to be impossible wouldn’t think about how transcending the FTL barrier with information transmission radically changes hardware and software design patterns. Quantum networking should be possible with a stochastic communication protocol and enough spliced pairs of particles, whose entanglement is somehow maintained. There are engineering challenges to be sure. If cyclical entanglement enabling chained entanglement of spin to charge is possible, it would be incredibly useful.
QN, the Answer to Fermi’s Paradox?
IMO, SETI has failed to find advanced civilizations sprawling the galaxy because they only use quantum networking. If there is some stochastic communication protocol that allows entangled particles to transcend space, enabling instantanious communication, that’s leagues better than communication via EMR. It’s faster, stealthier and more secure.
Once your civ goes dark, you never go back.
The specifics of quantum networking, particularly whether it’s convenient, cheap and portable, strongly determines how the technology unfolds. These qualities determine which industries thrive and survive as other tech that can be dependent on quantum networking unpredictably changes. QN, its technical limitations and its evolution, represent huge unknowns with massive implications on how technology will unfold before 2050.
Wonder why I’m busting out all the valuable business strategy and economic analysis? Just remember how the world demanded that morally-reprehensible asshole-that-makes-you-think, David Conner, was never to be allowed to build a single project. Ever.
QN can break both telecom and fintech. Fintech applications already benefit greatly from tiny optimizations. For example, the investment for transcontinental fiber solely for fintech applications makes business sense. Apparently, milliseconds shaved and dedicated communication infrastructure pays off. Now, assume QN is real, bandwidth is not a bottleneck and transmission time is zero. Then, after transending contraints of spacetime with QN, fintech simply becomes a game determined by speed of processing in data centers. If you can process data faster and more accurately while anticipating the strategies of other firms, you win.
At this point, an advantageous strategy is to influence sequencing of trading orders placed on stock and commidity exchanges because (i think) it allows for preferential pricing, relative to the time of transaction. As financial transactions accelerate, the final frontier is the sequencing of transactions. If the world of fintech finds itself in this spot, where the sequencing of transactions becomes gamed, it leads financial institutions to the need to solve very difficult software/hardware architecture design problems. Further, the financial world will gravitate towards products like R3’s distributed ledger Corda, which leverages blockchain as a secure, transactional, distributed financial ledger. If so and if gaming the sequencing of transactions is a viable trading tactic, this causes major headaches around 2030 because of processing overhead and the speed at which transactions can be processed becomes energy-bound.
Anime’s About Hypothetical Economic Systems Are My Favorite
In the context of financial engineering, utilizing a distributed ledger while gaming trading tactics, imagine solving the stochastic programming for anticipating pricing trends in fluctuating energy prices, trying to anticipate an adversaries tactics in a world where the rate of financial transactions is energy-bound. See this article for more information: A Stochastic Programming Framework for the Valuation of Electricity Storage.
However, QN’s potential to completely disrupt telecom is much greater. QN has the potential to create perfect and low energy communication with high bandwidth. It is completely decentralized and disruptive to both society and the business model of telecom. There is a complete loss of regulation over information transfer via lack of infrastructure to regulate. Loss of ability to control/monitor information transmission threatens the business model of telecom and of services built on top of telecom products. Therefore, telecom could foreseeably collapse slowly by 2050, depending on the specifics of QN, IFF it is real.
It’s this decentralized communication and loss of control in particular that terrifies the shadowy cigar-smoking Wizard of Oz types who secretly control the world and wouldn’t hesitate to burn it to the ground to hang on to power.
QN transforms computing power into something non-locational that transcends the limitations of spacetime. The CPU processing can occur anywhere and you can take it everywhere. Processing becomes dirt cheap and all data processing operations can be communicated over low power channels. Because energy isn’t needed for communcation, consumer electronics, such as AR headsets become mostly dumb terminals, that function to display rendered frames of video and coordinate UI interactions.
The degree of penetration into consumer electronics depends on the specifics of QN. Will it be cheap? Portable? Low power? Or is QN even possible? More crucially, what are the teleological consequences to various combinations of feature sets for QN? How do our lives change as a result? Can we ever return to a 1950’s golden era where privacy is more than an idea?
The AC/DC divide pushes itself from consumer electronics to homes and gradually expansive groupings of DC electronics systems. As this transformation ripples across the globe, various viable design patterns emerge which themselves necessitate hardware products with increasingly complicated feature sets. This shift creates trillions in demand for replacement of electric grid infrastructure worldwide. This occurs gradually across at least three decades.
The mechanics of this flux of demand rippling through the global economy affect industrialized nations differently than developing nations with less infrastructure. The nations with more infrastructure to replace do it more slowly, which creates a need to gradually shift to new infrastructure. Most of this requires backwards compatability, complicating design. This requirement for backwards compatibility limits the payoffs to infrastructure updates. This might imply that undeveloped nations benefit with less investment than developed nations.
In the end, we all end up with mostly the same set of capabilities from upgraded smart grid infrastructure, but less developed nations are better positioned to receive these benefits faster with less cost and less design constraints. Therefore, the flux of demand will tend to strongly impact developing nations, as they get higher payoffs for cheaper, as long as there is some threshold of stability.
If the US leverages its authority as an international power player to compel others to help foster stability in these nations, then we can accordingly position ourselves to help supply that demand. The demand is a product of the expectation of permanent stablity in these nations. That is an absolute dependency to expect demand from these nations. Therefore, the US helps provide stability and profits from the export of electric grid technology, while sharing the benefits received from smart grid consumption analytics. We share the advantages in using this data to stay ahead. We do this while helping to promote the level of stability and nation development that makes it all possible and we do so with free market principles.
Hybrid power grids are a great intermediate step for building out infrastructure in rural areas of developing nations. Again, stability is paramount before taking the first steps.
Islands of isolated power grids can be built out so reachargeable devices can become a norm in developing nations, especially in rural areas. These isolated hybrid power-grids which can harness renewables infrastructure which generate the commerce and investment required to fully connect those rural communities to the national power grid. The topology of these island grids should enable them to be connected to a single national smart grid later on. This increased speed to develop infrastructure in developing countries translates into demand for renewables, while more quickly providing valuable infrastructure that empowers people.
With a minimum of infrastructure and by harnessing the power of Zuckerburg’s army of Facebook wifi drones, even Nanu in Northwest Nigeria can access the latest status updates from his friends.
More seriously, communication helps reduce friction in regional economies, which translates into commerce which benefits the people. Most interesting to Facebook data scientists will be how people with limited exposure to modernization initially react. Donning my anthropoligist hat, we need to proactively understand how to rollout technology to preserve cultures before they are all assimilated into the Borg.
To understand the implementation details and economic opportunities, see this paper: Economic evaluation of hybrid energy systems for rural electrification in six geo-political zones of Nigeria
There are predictable dynamics in real-estate that result from the availability and qualities of smart-grid infrastructure as well as incentivizations inherent in the economics of infrastructure installation. These are especially present in urban and high-rise residential areas. Changes in infrastructure here have long-lasting consequences, so we’re going to want to do this right, so the smart-grid platform empowers American industry across the world.
A building’s capacity for renewable energy production is correlated to surface area, so as the proportion of volume to surface area increases, the likelihood of balanced energy utilization drops rapidly. This is dependent on whether fusion or alternatives like them become available. Fusion will become the dominant form of energy production later in the 21st century.
The version and specific features of smart-grid infrastructure for buildings strongly affect the value, price and marketability of real-estate and moreso as time moves on. The effect should is more prominent if we expect incentivization from climate change policies like the Paris Agreement to actually make a difference.
Smart grid real-estate trends scale from micro to macro. These are exhibited over varying time scales from years to decades. Most are similar to real-estate trends involving 20th century technology.
These real-estate trends include:
(1) The properties existing interoperability with renewables.
(2) The potential of properties to be upgraded with smart grid tech
(3) The dynamics of infrastructure rollout for a specific technology
(4) The upper bound on renewable wattage for a building
(5) Capicity for urban food production
(6) Regional dynamics in these trends, such as oversupply of renewable electricity
If one learns the sequencing of and trends surrounding the rollout of smartgrid technology and maintains visibility into the geographic distribution of its adoption, real-estate moguls can set up an event-driven purchasing strategy to profit in the billions. Such a strategy has incredible synergy with smart-grid infrastructure and services. With enough capital, you can purchase, upgrade and flip properties. With properly allocated investments, you can profit at every step.
It’s like being Jay-Z, listening to the raps you produced in a club you own and shelling out for a round of chapaign for some VIP’s. Champaign that you own, you manufactured and you distributed.
So if you can influence policy as it crucially relates to real-estate, you can further massage your profits. However, someone making the wrong moves here could cost America trillions. It’s actually best to have someone leading whose incentives strongly align with our options for economic growth.
But, as you can clearly see, I fucking know how to invest money, So nope, sorry, I am a little more than butthurt for not making my first million before thirty. All these “entrepreneurs” and haters who couldn’t dissect a business model or identify the difference between a sideshow and a unicorn: you need to pick another lane because you are holding me back with your petty bullshit.
Yeh, I’m an asshole and I’m over it.
The third part in this series is my fave. It covers the transition to space, the accompanying economic shifts and the evolution of governence mechanisms. As we approach the apex of globalization, we reach the end of the Westphalian era. We find that transnationalism wedges itself in the frame of international law and is used to contort precedent. Then, as we begin to colonize space, humanity again rearchitects our outermost paradigms of governance, leading to a transition away from the brief post-Westphalian period.