CHALLENGES

Execution.  That's the challenge to be met in putting the U.S. on a new, sustainable, affordable, reliable energy footing.  The dreamers and planners rely on the doers to make the Smart Grid work. 

Energy deregulation is a very complex subject, which we try to make intelligible, but succinct. Pieces of it (FERC, NERC, RTO/ISOs) are explained in "Reliability" and "Transmission" challenges. Regulation and prices are discussed here. HOT FLASH! PENNSYLVANIA'S COMPETITIVE! FIND OUT WHO'S PRICES ARE LOWEST!

It's not just your grandma's old power company that makes your electricity flow.  It's a complex of organizations, some governmental, some private, some for-profit, some co-operatives, some public.  Servicing the Grid means that all must work together.

New electrical energy needs transmission lines to carry it to consumers. Locations and cost assessments for those lines stir controversy.

Efficiency and conservation are essential to the success of our new energy paradigm, the Smart Grid.  Consumer cooperation is key.

The changing American energy model offers opportunities for individuals and businesses to "go it alone," or at least cut their major reliance on energy from the Grid.

Go Deeper ...

Well, folks, NetFlix it's not. More like C-SPAN is this 119 minute VIDEO of a 2010 Congressional hearing about the Smart Grid. After the Representatives' introductory remarks, about 20 minutes in, you'll hear the experts, beginning with Tom Casey, CEO, CURRENT Group; Robert Gilligan, VP, GE Energy; Allan Schurr, VP, IBM Global Energy & Utilities Industry; Charles Zimmerman, VP, WalMart; Shirley Brostmeyer, CEO, Florida Turbine; and Jim Hoecker, Hoecker Energy Law Policy & former FERC chief, all talking about what is needed to "smarten" the U.S. grid.

 

  
  
  

The power plants, transmission circuitry and substations, which deliver electricity to American consumers across more than 220,000 miles of high voltage transmission lines are known collectively as "the Grid."


Today's century-old Grid still mirrors the maze of streets, roads and byways that it did at its inception. Yet electricity is increasingly vital as a part of our overall energy picture.


The Grid is now expected to:
1. Move ever more electricity flexibly, efficiently & affordably.
2. Eliminate "bottlenecks" which cause power outages.
3. Integrate new, intermittant power sources like wind and solar effectively.
4. Carry the growing torrents of informational data.


Improvement is essential, so a grid-wide transformation akin to building a 21st century Interstate Highway System for energy is proposed. It envisions a master plan serving the whole country with "entrance & exit ramps" as needed for states & locales. It would build additional infrastructure, while conserving and upgrading what we already have.


This advanced product, known as the SMART GRID, would:
1. Add more long distance extra-high voltage transmission lines to connect remote renewable-energy sources (i.e., wind and solar "farms") with population centers.
2. Replace existing overhead conductors with advanced systems to increase capacity.
3. Use new techniques to install and maintain underground cables making them less costly.
4. Use advanced digital technology to distribute electricity and detailed information about its usage all along the grid. That will enhance reliability and allow utilities and consumers to gauge real-time costs so they can adjust their usages accordingly.
5. Enable new technologies such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, smart appliances, and home automation software and hardware.


To bring all this information together, HERE'S A VIDEO THAT BRIEFLY EXPLAINS THE GRID - ITS IMPORTANCE, ITS PROBLEMS and ITS POTENTIAL.

Amplifying the Grid