Learning Objectives

  • Review of power systems and its four major components: Generation, Transmission, Distribution and Consumption.

  • Understand characteristics of the “old” grids and problems related to reliability, efficiency and environmental impact. When I refer to “old” grids, I am not talking about today’s grid. Old grid is a reference to the power grid before the transition to a smart grid started.

  • Introduce smart grids: definition, opportunities and challenges.


Here is a link to the slide deck used in class.

Recordings (optional)


If want more information on smart grid, watch this animated video from the US Department of Energy entitled “What Is the Smart Grid?”. This is just a first in a chapter of a series os videos on how smart grids impact you.

What is the Smart Grid?

This second video shows the economic impact of having an outage in the old grids and one in the self-healing smart grid. It’s a 13 minute long video, but it’s very entertaining!

Outage Impact

For a comparison by country of transmission and distribution losses wordwide, you can see this graph from Statista. You will need to access via Duke Libraries since it’s not available with Statista free account.

Losses by Country

Here you will find images of the power grid:

Topics for Discussion

  • What market structures best incentivizes smart grids?

  • Why the US Grid Isn’t Ready for the Renewable Energy Transition?

  • Regional and Interregional Transmission Development


For this module you will do a journal entry using Sakai discussion. Here is the journal entry J1. The due date for J1 is Tuesday Sept 6 for journal entries and Friday Sept 10th for journal comments.