How the Internet can Green the Electrical Grid

Google Tech Talk
April 13, 2010


Presented by S. Keshav.

Several powerful forces are gathering to make fundamental and irrevocable changes to the century-old grid. The next-generation grid, often called the `smart grid,’ will feature distributed energy production, vastly more storage, tens of millions of stochastic renewable-energy sources, and the use of communication technologies both to allow precise matching of supply to demand and to incentivize appropriate consumer behaviour. These changes will have the effect of reducing energy waste and reducing the carbon footprint of the grid, making it `smarter’ and `greener.’

In this talk, I will demonstrate that the concepts and techniques pioneered by the Internet, the fruit of four decades of research in this area, are directly applicable to the design of a smart, green grid. This is because both the Internet and the electrical grid are designed to meet fundamental needs, for information and for energy, respectively, by connecting geographically dispersed suppliers with geographically dispersed consumers. Keeping this and other similarities (and fundamental differences, as well) in mind, I propose several specific areas where Internet concepts and technologies can contribute to the development of a smart, green grid. I hope that our work will initiate a dialogue between these two communities.

(joint work with Catherine Rosenberg, University of Waterloo)

Project site:

S. Keshav is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Tetherless Computing at the School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, Canada and the Editor of ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review. Earlier in his career he was a researcher at Bell Labs and an Associate Professor at Cornell. He is the author of a widely used graduate textbook on computer networking. He has been awarded the Director’s Gold Medal at IIT Delhi, the Sakrison Prize at UC Berkeley, the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a Best Student Paper award at ACM SIGCOMM, a Best Paper award at ACM MOBICOM, and two Test-of-Time awards from ACM SIGCOMM. He is a co-founder of three startups: Ensim Corporation, GreenBorder Technologies, and Astilbe Networks. His current interests are in the use of tetherless computing for rural development, and for gaining efficiency in energy generation, transmission, and consumption. Keshav received a B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Delhi in 1986 and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1991, both in Computer Science.

Post time: 12-26-2016