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Meeting the challenge of an aging power grid

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Written by: Alexa Stone

Here’s the challenge: Tomorrow’s energy needs will grow as more Electric Vehicle (EV) traffic is seen and summer heat reaches record temperatures Today’s grid is not equipped to support that demand. New technology investments supported by policy initiatives will be required to upgrade the grid while serving even greater demand.

To meet that challenge, the best technologies available today must be implemented for tomorrow.

REAL-TIME DATA

Modern sensor and communication technology enables continuous data on power consumption and supply variations. Grid operators can dynamically manage the system as they are guided by the advanced programming within control systems. Improved monitoring and control will enable renewable energy sources to reliably contribute power day and night, even when wind subsides or storms darken the skies.

DISTRIBUTED ENERGY RESOURCES

Electric generation units at or near end-user facilities will contribute to grid flexibility and resilience. Solar panels and wind turbines, supported by cutting-edge batteries, provide reliable power for distribution when needed and as much as needed.

HIGH-CAPACITY TRANSMISSION LINES

Transmission lines with high capacity and minimal resistance reduce energy losses that otherwise occur during long-distance transport. That brings more electricity from power plants to substations.

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building a Better Grid Initiative aims to create new and upgraded high-capacity electric transmission lines. That’s excellent news for EV owners and communities and business that are deploying EV charging infrastructure. The DOE initiative also includes a $2.5 billion Transmission Facilitation Program to support the development of nationally significant transmission lines.

UPGRADED SUBSTATIONS

Modern transformers function as critical hubs. They transform voltage levels, manage power flow, and ensure smooth transitions between transmission and distribution networks.

Microprocessor relays reduce necessary wiring, protect against breaker failure, and provide metering functions that reduce or eliminate the need for panel meters and transducers.

Metal oxide surge arresters maintain stability while protecting against overvoltages. They also avert direct lightning strikes, a common issue for substations.

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