Benefits

Overview

The Digital Grid offers many benefits, to the wide-area grid, to society and on down to the individual consumer.  The table summarizes the major benefits, with details provided in the segments below.

Function Benefit
Segment the Grid
Robust against failure
Gradual conversion from conventional grid
Any community, municipality or region can map a strategy for sustainability
Uses existing transmission lines
Increases total grid capacity without additional transmission lines
Creates a path to sustainable 100% renewable energy
Addresses climate change along with growth in population and energy use
Storage of energy removes unnatural mismatch of supply-demand pricing for energy
Enables true commodity pricing for energy
Tagging of energy flows enables unambiguous tracking of energy source
Carbon trading and green accreditation is secure when the provenance is verifiable
Safety
Power on any digital grid line is not transmitted without a positive confirmation from the receiver

Grid Stability and Redundancy

The most immediate benefit to the Digital Grid is grid stability and redundancy.  Power can be acquired using other paths if some lines have faults because a number of paths are available among cells, therefore it is not limited to the primary path and backup path.  Theoretically, N cells have the order of N2 connecting paths.  This makes the wide area grid robust against major failure.

This robustness is similar to the stability and redundancy of the Internet.

Digital Power Trading

The DGR enables the delivery of electricity to the destination cell using an address and routing.·The energy is tagged with identification information including generation source, route of delivery, storage device (if any) and end-user (energy consumer). ·

The digital grid dramatically improves the value of energy storage and makes it possible to have a business platform for a new energy trading business. Free market commodity trading mechanisms can be applied for electricity trading which will accelerate investment in such new systems

Time Value of Energy

In the grid today, energy must be generated at the instant that it is consumed.  There are tremendous inefficiencies that result from this requirement.  For example, generators are frequently operated at lower than optimal output level so as to be available when power demand rises.  The efficiency of the power plant at these lower operational levels is lower meaning the cost of energy is inflated as well as the output of harmful emissions.  Fluctuations in output levels is also a maintenance issue, increasing the cost of maintenance of some power generation equipment.

We call this effect the "time value of energy", where the value of the energy varies dramatically depending on the time of day or season.  When energy storage is used, the restriction that energy must be produced and consumed at the same time is removed.  Storage enables flexible commercial trading so energy can be reserved for future use, and the time of delivery can be selected based on congestion rules or other factors.

Storage also enables lower volatility in the price of energy, which creates a stable market and thereby encourages new investment in energy infrastructure.

Grids for Developing Nations

In developing nations, there are often isolated grids in each city, which are not connected together because of low density demand.  Since cells in the digital grid are not required to be synchronized, the Digital Grid Routers can be used to inexpensively connect these isolated grids without requiring synchronization.  This will provide more energy sharing across developing countries, and higher reliability through interconnection.

New Energy Applications

The digital grid technology can be extended down to the level of the end user, either a home or a commercial user.  A digital grid enabled home can be envisioned.  Since power is never delivered to the device without the handshake power protocol, safety is dramatically increased.  With smart appliances in the home, and smart power delivery, a ground fault can be detected and power cut off in nanoseconds, much faster than existing circuit breakers.  This will improve fire and accident safety.

With safety assured, new high power appliances and applications can be utilized.  If the energy is from a renewable source, the home equipped with the digital grid can use energy in ways that are unthinkable today.

High power tankless water heaters, high power whole-body driers, fast-temperature changing induction cooking range are some of the applications which can be readily forecast.

However, if energy is abundant, there are new horizons in applications which will be invented, even as new industries have been founded on the Internet and information revolution.