Consumers await a revolutionary interface.
Steven Andersen is a freelance writer based in New York. Email him at email@example.com.
It’s a mid-summer evening and you’re just arriving home from work. You pull into your driveway, get out of your car and plug it in. You take a second to wipe the sweat from your brow. It’s hot out.
Inside, the first thing you notice is a blinking light on your in-home display. The grid has recognized that your car, which has been charging all day from the solar panels on the roof of your company’s garage, has a nearly full battery. Demand is high and your utility is offering to purchase that electricity for a premium price. You’re not going out that night, so you touch the screen to authorize the transaction. You note that your account is instantly credited.
You take a minute to scroll through the rest of your appliances. Your dishwasher ran at 4 a.m., when power was cheapest. After you went to work, the hot-water heater cycled off, just as you programmed it. At noon, as demand rose, the grid turned your thermostat up a few degrees per your price plan. It’s warm in the house, but not uncomfortably so. Still, you have dinner guests that evening, so you click to override. It might cost a few bucks extra, but the power you just sold from your car will offset the expense.
This scenario could become a reality in the not-too-distant future. In fact, most of the technology required already exists. Just how far we are from actual implementation, however, is another question.