Smart Grid!

A place to discuss all things involving power and technology (including cameras). Generator tips, alternative energy, lighting your camp/bike/art/self, sound systems and more.
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Posts: 71
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:10 pm
Burning Since: 2016
Camp Name: Empress

Smart Grid!

Post by Toe » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:16 pm

Our home away from home is a pretty good place to try out a smart grid. Black Rock Labs was working on some hardware for this a while back. We should try it out.

A simple smart grid is a way of sharing electrical storage between camps in an intelligent manner.
I'm thinking something like:
-Your camp has solar (or some other electrical source) and batteries.
-Naturally it would be nice to have more electricity at certain times. Eg. your camp has a party on Wednesday night that needs more juice than you can store.
-The rest of the time you have plenty of battery capacity.
-Meanwhile your neighbours have extra electricity most of the time but want more juice for their music on Thursday.
-A cable connects your battery packs with a bi-directional watt-hour meter keeping count.
-If an electrical quota gets exceeded, then the connection could shut off automatically in order to avoid draining both battery packs too much.

If this was all done in low voltage DC, then this would mean only short cable runs but no need for fancy phase lock loops.

It's totally doable.

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Captain Goddammit
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Camp Name: First Camp
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Smart Grid!

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:04 am

It’s totally ridiculous.
Usually you don’t know who your neighbors are gonna be.
To work effectively at low voltage you’d need very large-gauge cables, which will cost you over $2/foot to run two conductors.
Things are so random, and it’s only a week, that sharing battery power with strangers just isn’t practical.
Battery and solar aren’t even practical in the first place in BRC for any power requirements over a few hundred watts.
Too heavy, too expensive, too unreliable.
It’s Burning Man, lots of stuff isn’t practical and if you and a friend want to do it for the challenge and fun exercise, that’s great.
I’ll spend less money and have more power than you though.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

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some seeing eye
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Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:06 pm
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Camp Name: Woo
Location: The Oregon

Re: Smart Grid!

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Feb 21, 2019 6:42 am

Hello Toe, This is one of my areas of expertise. People do not have an excess of batteries or an excess of solar on the playa. As the Captain states, the only camps with an excess have generators, some very large. The generators on the playa load follow, so they don't need a load forecast, just a design peak load.

A playa smart grid based on storage needs a minute-scale load forecast. That meets playa brain behavior and the expectation that playa electricity is like electricity provided at home by the big grid. We have the same problem with Playa mobile and Internet - people think they can watch a 4K video or upload something massive, because they can do that at home.

All that said, meet the AEZ Village and learn all you can. Sometimes there are some solar experts at Nectar Village too. And apprentice yourself to a camp with a generator-driven grid. It's also worth digging into the National Electrical Code for temporary power. There is a FB group dedicated to BM power, but it is not deep. Often in larger cities there are groups of DIY solar and battery people to meet.
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion

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