The cost of replacing the power delivery system in the US would be prohibitive. What can be done is to employ advanced technology to modernise and enhance the use of existing assets.
The DOE has a vision of the grid in 2030 which builds on the existing electric infrastructure. The same types of equipment that the system uses for electric delivery today, power lines, substations, and transformers, will continue to play important roles. However, the emergence of new technologies, tools, and techniques including distributed intelligence and distributed energy resources, will increase the efficiency, quality, and security of existing systems and enable the development of a new architecture for the electric grid. The result will be improvements in the efficiency of both power delivery and market operations, and a high quality network.
Grid 2030 consists of three major elements:
- A national electricity “backbone”.
- Regional interconnections, which include Canada and Mexico.
- Local distribution, mini- and micro-grids.
Smart Power Delivery
Grid 2030 is a fully automated power delivery network that monitors and controls every customer and node, ensuring a two way flow of electricity and information between the power plant and the appliance, and all points in between. Its distributed intelligence, coupled with broadband communications and automated control systems, enables real time market transactions and seamless interfaces among people, buildings, industrial plants, generation facilities, and the electric network.
Technological breakthroughs have made it possible to deliver large amounts of energy over long distances into congested areas unobtrusively, with near zero voltage drop. New conductor materials enable two to three times the power through existing rights of way.