Are Your Transformers Ready for the ‘Smart Grid?’

The century-old power grid is the US has often been called “the largest interconnected machine on Earth.” Little wonder, because it consists of more than 9,200 electricity generating units, with more than 1,000,000 megawatts of generating capacity connected to more than 300,000 miles of transmission lines. 안전공원

However this mammoth power infrastructure is nearly a century old and is understandably running out of steam. The lights may still be on but relying on an often-overtaxed grid is becoming increasingly risky.

Since 1982, growth in peak demand for electricity- driven by population growth, bigger houses, bigger TVs, more air conditioners and more computers – has exceeded transmission growth by almost 25% every year. Yet spending on research and development – the first step toward innovation and renewal – is among the lowest when compared to all other industries.

Even as the demand for energy has skyrocketed, there has been chronic underinvestment in getting energy where it needs to go through transmission and distribution, further limiting grid efficiency and reliability. While hundreds of thousands of high-voltage transmission lines course throughout the United States, only 668 additional miles of interstate transmission have been built since 2000.

As a result, system constraints worsen and power quality issues are estimated to cost American businesses an average of more than $100 billion each year.

The grids centralized structure also leaves the US open to blackouts. In fact, the inter-dependencies of various grid components can have a cascading series of failures that could bring banking,communications, traffic, and security systems among other things to a complete standstill. Smart Maintenance

National challenges like the aging power grid, increasing energy demands, spiraling cost of generating electricity and its cost on the environment are all pointing in one direction, and one direction only: a grid that is more efficient in energy production and distribution.

For years technologists have been toying with the idea of a “Smart Grid”, an electricity distribution system that uses digital technology to eliminate waste and improve reliability.

Advocates of the smart grid also say that it would open up new markets for large and small scale alternative energy producers by decentralizing generation. It would allow consumers to have a much more complex relationship with their energy supplier.

More on the Smart Grid

To put it in the simplest way possible, “the Smart Grid will deliver electricity from suppliers to consumers using digital technology to save energy, reduce cost, and increase reliability and transparency.”

A true smart grid will not be possible unless each new major device and system that is part of the grid is able to communicate with every other system on the grid. This critical interoperability depends on a coordinated framework of protocols and standards that is in a very early stage of planning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *