The electric transmission grid is something we really never think about until there is a problem. So many people fail to realize just how significant this grid is to the economy and the energy industry. In fact, the grid is actually the most important engineering achievement, a title that has been given to it by the National Academy of Engineering. The 20th century is the era in which computers, internet and nuclear weapons were invented, but the grid is still the most incredible of all these.
As awareness has increased, newer technologies can be seen in the market because of the power systems that are rapidly going through a change.
Initially, the grid was developed to connect cities and power plants. Later on, it began connecting the cities themselves and now it can even connect regions. This evolution continues as the grid expands and connects together renewable energy resources which are being cashed in on by advanced technology.
There are two prime aims behind the grid expansion: one is to provide less developed areas with a source of utilizing solar and wind resources and the other is to allow a free electron flow, which will minimize the variability that exists with solar and wind power.
Studies have analyzed a need of additional megawatt-miles transmissions, which exceeds 120 million. This is possible only when around $6.5 billion are invested for the purpose every year from now onwards until the year 2050. Until that time, nearly 80% of energy will be generated from renewable resources.
As of now, the current national grid has a rating of 150 to 200 million megawatt transmission miles, which comprises only 11% of the total energy being used by the country.
The grid does not only require an expansion, it requires an improvement as well. Currently, it is exposed to many threats in the form of high winds, rains, squirrels and other risks factors. The American Society of Civil Engineers or ASCE prepared a report on the grid which gave it a rating of D+. The report explained that until the grid was completely rebuilt American businesses and homes could suffer from energy losses worth $995 billion.
Rebuilding the grid can increase its efficiency and reliability. Power generations costs will be reduced and a better balance will be achieved between supply and demand.