Tag Archives: electricity

Ideas to Bolster Power Grid Run Up Against the System’s Many Owners – NYTimes.com

16 Jul

Our current power grid is a balkanized mess owned and operated by 500 different entities. It needs to be redesigned and rebuilt. But we also need to allow for resilience at the local level so individual communities will have their own power from renewables sources.

For now, engineers in the grid redesign project have determined that conducting business as usual between 2010 and 2030 would require $18.5 billion in new transmission lines in the United States, while a system designed to integrate renewables like wind energy on a large scale would cost $115.2 billion. In some places, however, renewables could cut electricity costs by allowing the replacement of high-cost generators with lower-cost ones.

The technology, the engineering skill and even the money are all available, experts say, but the ability to reach agreement on such a grid is not. Dozens of experts said in interviews that there were simply too many players, both commercial and governmental, and too many conflicting interests.

via Ideas to Bolster Power Grid Run Up Against the System’s Many Owners – NYTimes.com.

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What We Talk About When We Talk About the Decentralization of Energy – Maggie Koerth-Baker – Technology – The Atlantic

16 Apr

Following electric utility deregulation in the 1970s, the jobs of generating electricity, transmitting it over long distances, and distributing it around localized regions have increasingly been done by different entities.

This is happening now, outside of the shift toward alternative energy, but as we generate electricity using more renewable resources–as generation becomes increasingly distributed, to match the locations of inherently local sources of energy–that trend will only accelerate. The day may come when no electric utility generates anything. Instead, it might simply coordinate the movement of electricity between generators and customers. Rather than making and selling electricity, utilities like the municipal utility in Gainesville, Florida, could someday find itself selling the service of making sure that all of the solar panels in town work together in a reliable way, alongside storage systems and mid-size power plants.

If there’s one lesson you should pick up from this story, it’s that alternative energy isn’t only about changing what we put in our fuel tanks or how our electricity is made. Alternative energy is going to alter entire business plans and change who we are, what our responsibilities are, and how we think about ourselves.

via What We Talk About When We Talk About the Decentralization of Energy – Maggie Koerth-Baker – Technology – The Atlantic.