Science Friday: How New Rules and Smart Tech Are Reinventing the Grid

Smart Wire Grid was mentioned in the July 4th edition of the Science Friday podcast.

When Superstorm Sandy hit, neighborhoods all over New York City and Long Island lost power. In an effort to avoid lengthy blackouts in future storms, there was a lot of talk of a more distributed smart grid—a more resilient system. But how far have we come? Energy experts Kate Burson and Cheryl Martin discuss reinventing the grid through technological and regulatory fixes.

Cheryl Martin (CM), Acting Director of ARPA-E, spoke with Ira Flatow (IF), the host of Science Friday, about new innovations for the grid. She described Smart Wire Grid’s technology at 3:18 into the clip.

IF: What is this new routing technology that I hear about called the Smart Wire Grid?

CM: Well, Smart Wire Grid is actually one of the technologies we funded. The whole idea of the grid, unlike the internet routers we take for granted, the electricity grid does not work that way. The question is can we use hardware and software to route the electrical grid? Again, another way to give resiliency and backup, so this company essentially clamps magnets on your high-voltage wires and it makes the wires feel like its congested and makes the electrons go elsewhere. And so, it’s a pretty clever, simple way to think about a hardware source to route electrons around an outage potentially.

Listen here.

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