First Conference on Local DC Electricity

Transforming the 21st Century Energy Economy

March 30 – April 1, 2014  •  Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, SC

(Download Conference Flyer)

With the invention of Alternating Current (AC) by Tesla and its commercialization by Westinghouse, the global electricity infrastructure in the 20th century was dominated by AC. The traditional model of large centralized AC electrical power generation and long-haul distribution via high-voltage transmission and low-voltage distribution lines results in significant loss of electrical energy. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, globally in 2011 about 70% of electrical energy was lost in the generation, transmission and distribution. Assuming the cost of electricity is $0.1/kWH, the global annual loss amounts to about 40 trillion dollars. DC electricity locally generated by solar panels and wind mills, and used with a minimum conversion (DC to AC or AC to DC) and minimum transmission, is expected to save 30% or higher energy. Local DC power generation, distribution and utilization will bring similar economic transformation in the “energy economy” of the 21st century. Since the current electricity infrastructure in the U.S. is

dominated by AC, there is need to develop hybrid adaptive smart micro grids that will accelerate the adaptation and utilization of clean renewable energy. There are a number of challenges that needs to be solved before our vision of large-scale adoption of local DC electricity can be realized. For enabling faster adaption of the DC micro grid, concurrent advancements in three key directions are required: solving technical problems, development of proper standards, and institution of appropriate public policies in support of the local DC electricity infrastructure. Local DC electricity is an attractive economical approach to provide energy to over 2 billion people who have no access to electricity in order to meet their basic energy needs for day-to-day living. The objective of this conference is to bring together leading experts in these areas and engage them in a vigorous information exchange to advance the implementation of local DC power generation and storage with minimum transmission and distribution.


Conference Organizers:

Dr. Rajendra Singh 
Holcombe ECE Department
Clemson University 
Clemson, SC 29634-0915 Tel: (864) 656-0919 (O)
Dr. Krishna Shenai 
Energy Systems Division
Argonne National Laboratory 
Argonne, IL 60439
Tel: (630) 252-3068 (O)
Mr. Brian T. Patterson
Emerge Alliance
2400 Camino Ramon, Suite 375
San Ramon, CA 94583
Tel: (925) 275-6617 (O)


 Local DC in the news … Spectrum – February 6, 2014
DC Microgrids and the Virtues of Local Electricity
By Rajendra Singh & Krishna Shenai

It’s been more than a century since Thomas Edison lost the great technological battle he waged against George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla, the now-famous “War of Currents.” The idea Edison hoped to defend was that the world should run off direct current (DC) electricity. But his position just couldn’t stand up to the pounding it took from the logic of Westinghouse and Tesla’s competing scheme, which was to produce and distribute alternating current (AC). – read full article here

02OLDCMicroGridsf1v2-1391706081619 Spectrum – February 25, 2014
The Grid From the Ground Up: What to Do If We Could Do It Again?
By Dave Levitan

Among the primary reasons that innovation in electricity grid technologies tends to move slowly is that the grid makes for a poor test site: You can’t bring it down to try something out. So, instead, here’s a thought experiment: If you could bring the whole thing down and start over from scratch, what would you do? What technologies in use today would be scrapped or downscaled, and which ones would we implement from the outset? A panel of experts—hosted by EnergyWise contributor Katherine Tweed—at the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E) Energy Innovation Summit laid out some ideas on Monday. – read full article here