The key idea that made the internet possible was the move from centralized circuit-switched networks to distributed packet-switching protocols, where data could “find its way” from sender to receiver.
Now it’s energy that needs to find its way.
The power network… will undergo the same kind of architectural transformation in the next decades that computing and the communication network has gone through in the last two.
We envision a future network with hundreds of millions of active endpoints. These are not merely passive loads as are most endpoints today, but endpoints that may generate, sense, compute, communicate, and actuate. They will create both a severe risk and a tremendous opportunity: an interconnected system of hundreds of millions of distributed energy resources (DERs) introducing rapid, large, and random fluctuations in power supply and demand…
As infrastructure deployment progresses, the new bottleneck will be the need for overarching frameworks, foundational theories, and practical algorithms to manage a fully [data-centric] power network.
This is an algorithms problem! It’s TCP/IP for energy. Think of these algorithms as hybrids of distributed networking protocols and financial trading algorithms — they are routing energy as well as participating in a market.[http://worrydream.com/ClimateChange/ source]