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Toward a Renewables-Friendly Grid

A great deal of money and deep technical expertise are now in place to get the U.S. transmission system ready for lots more wind and some more solar. But radical reform of management and regulation will also be required.

8 min read
Toward a Renewables-Friendly Grid

From the beginning of this century, the U.S. utility industry has been developing the conceptual framework for a smarter electricity grid that would be self-healing, interactive, and interoperable, open and communicative in real time, and green friendly. Now, nearly 10 years later, a dozen or two buzzwords more, and after a great deal of serious technical study, suddenly it’s real. The U.S. stimulus legislation adopted earlier this year allocates US $4.5 billion in grants for smart grid projects, $6 billion to support loan guarantees of $50-60 billion for renewable energy and transmission, and $6.5 billion in loan guarantees for the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) to expand transmission to accommodate renewably generated energy--a lot of money in all.

On 18 June, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) received a detailed account of issues and priorities that smart grid standards will need to address having been handed the job of devising an overall architecture. NIST is to issue a draft Smart Grid Interoperability Standards Framework document in September.

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The EV Transition Explained: Charger Infrastructure

How many, where, and who pays?

7 min read
Illuminated electric vehicle charging stations at night in Monterey Park, California.

Electric vehicle charging stations in Monterey Park, California.


The ability to conveniently charge an EV away from home is a top concern for many EV owners. A 2022 survey of EV owners by Forbes indicates that 62 percent of respondents are so anxious about their EV range that travel plans have been affected. While “range anxiety” may be overblown, the need for an extensive and reliable external charging infrastructure is not.

Infrastructure terminology can itself be confusing. For clarity, bear in mind that a charging station is a specific physical location which has one or more charging posts. A charging post itself may have one or more ports, where each port can charge a single EV. Each post may have multiple types of service connectors to support different EV charging connector standards. And a port may supply varying power levels.

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Video Friday: Humanoid Soccer

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
Humans and human-size humanoid robots stand together on an indoor soccer field at the beginning of a game

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Designing Fuel Cell Systems Using System-Level Design

Modeling and simulation in Simulink and Simscape

1 min read
Designing Fuel Cell Systems Using System-Level Design

Design and simulate a fuel cell system for electric mobility. See by example how Simulink® and Simscape™ support multidomain physical modeling and simulation of fuel cell systems including thermal, gas, and liquid systems. Learn how to select levels of modeling fidelities to meet your needs at different development stages.