Power grids work much the same way wherever you go and all of them are incredibly wasteful. However, a city in Germany by the name of Mannheim wants to take that fabled German efficiency and apply it to power grid in a program it calls the “Model City of Mannheim.” The program essentially creates a “smart grid” that maximizes power efficiency to reduce waste and prioritizes renewable energy.
Know how the U.S. power grid works? Anyone who remembers the 2003 blackout, when 50 million people lost power from Michigan to New York, might vaguely recall that it’s made up of three interconnections: eastern, western, and Texas. They don’t communicate perfectly with each other, and high-voltage power lines within each zone carry electricity from power plants to distribution stations and then on to homes and businesses. The amount of power being used by all the electrical devices inside these buildings has to equal what’s being generated, or blackouts can happen. Power grids all over the world operate in similar fashions, but one located in Mannheim, Germany works a little differently: It’s smart.