How Do You Define “Today”?

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this post by Neil Wilmshurst at RealClearEnergy on digital transformation of the power generation industry. It could be as simple as observing that the power generation industry could make better use of source data capture and digital technology than it does at present, something with which I agree, or it could be complete word salad. You be the judge.

I want to focus on one sentence:

Advanced sensors, process controls and automation, and data analytics are all available today.

What is meant by “today” in that sentence? Or maybe what is meant by “available”?

My definition would be that if you placed an order for them today, they would be delivered in the near term, say a week or so. Is that what he means? Or does he mean that they’ve designed or in somebody’s catalog but if you placed an order for them now, you’d get delivery in three years? It could mean either and it makes a difference.

6 comments… add one
  • steve Link

    It is kind of vague but maybe he is talking about like what they did in Colorado to make wind power so effective and efficient. They combine much better weather forecasting and live tracking of weather conditions with individual sensors on each wind turbine so they can optimally adjust them. They can even run them in cold weather like they do in Canada.


  • walt moffett Link

    Reads more like the first half of a sales pitch. Wonder how many read it with ideas for the local public service commission to mandate.

    Analytics, efficency, reminds me of a power company in the 1910’s or thereabouts plagued with brown outs, that got every one to use electric irons only on low demand Thursday. Then there’s the wonderful notion to some, of controlling how much electricity some neighborhoods get to use. Nothing wrong with sitting under the shade tree with a battery powered fan while the GotRocks have AC and an ice maker running full time.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    I think that’s called class envy Walt.
    Stratification of our society and pursuit of green dreams by the winners in the genetic lottery will cause a lot of trouble if they push us too far towards poverty.

  • Drew Link

    I hold no animus for alternative energy sources, optimized in any way possible. I’m an engineer by original training for Christ sake. I used to do that shit on the plant floor. Its just that an experienced and rational person realizes they are niche for as far as the eye can see. Being on the plant floor means you can’t wish it so, just because it sounds cool, and fits your politics.

    But it got me to thinking about “experts.” Serious question. We have a serious economic issue in front of us. Can anyone identify a material prediction, an inflection point, that Paul Krugman (and his ilk) has gotten right? Many are unaware that his Nobel status is in international economics/currencies. Not blood and guts country performance economics. Krugman has “steves disease;” his political biases make rational thought, argumentation and accurate predictions impossible. He’s chronically wrong. Although, to be fair, in Krugman’s defense I’ve never seen him resort to “cultist” accusations. That’s the bottom of the barrel stuff.

  • Michael Cain Link

    This sort of language is typically used to mean the sensors are in place, the data is collected somewhere, but the data is not shared in ways that could allow avoiding problems.

    This is not a new complaint. The post-mortem analyses of all the multistate blackouts in the last 25 or so years are disturbingly similar: party A had data X, but did not share it with party B, so party B did something that looks stupid. Some of the data is real time, some of it is the operating parameters for important large subsystems.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    Groping around the digital darkness for words that make rationing sound cool and high tech.

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