Grid-enhancing technologies include a variety of tools to maximize the ability of the grid to handle the flow of electricity. They include sensors, power-flow devices, software and hardware that can better deliver real-time weather data and other technologies like topology optimization, which can identify the best grid configurations and route power flow around bottlenecks. Think of the electric grid as a road system and grid-enhancing technologies as traffic control devices and variable speed limits that can help alleviate congestion, a Department of Energy paper says.
And congestion on the nation’s electric grid is a real problem. Defined broadly, congestion in electric terms means any time physical constraints on the power system prevent the cheapest power from flowing to customers, which, naturally, raises costs.
Possible makers of “Grid Enhancing Technologies” are any firms making power distribution and building controls equipment. Firms like:
Square D Electric
Eaton - make hardware and a software product called ADPS (Advanced Distribution Planning System)
Besides these “big iron” companies, all of these GET solutions require “Internet of Things” (IoT) circuitry which requires chip sets, customized printed circuit board manufacturing, etc. I’m sure many functions will become standardized to run on small Arduino microcontrollers or Raspberry Pi microcomputers.
Note that the gird part of their business is not big enough to really move the needle like it would with more specialized enterprises. Think of them as electricity conglomerates for investing purposes. Some are not American.
I’ve worked as a residential electrician. I don’t know anything about super conductors but I do know that ordinary copper wire can carry more current at lower temperatures. Burying the lines would serve two purposes possibly by keeping wires safer from wind and tree damage and also keeping them cooler.
Agreed. That is expensive, however, for the very high voltage lines that are typically very high on tall towers, as the insulating needed is much greater. And burying is expensive, period, especially for very long distances. I do like buried wires for residential (like our neighborhood), but at only 240V is much easier to do. It absolutely helps on weather related damages.
Yes, it would certain keep them safer from wind and tree damage, but electric wires generate heat. Putting them underground means they don’t get the kind of “natural cooling” they get when they are overhead. I’ve been told that requires larger conduit sizing, and certain geologies to make the heat dissipation less of an issue, otherwise the wires/insulation “age” prematurely.
We have buried lines in the neighborhood, but they are fed by high power lines from outside, so … good for us locally, at least. I believe the boxes in the yards, mostly hidden by landscaping, come in at relatively high voltages and are stepped down there.
In some extremes it is necessary to go this deep which prices burying wires out of the market. In many places this happens at a higher level towards the surface where lines in fact could be buried and cooled by the ground around them.
Is it cooler to live underground?
Depending on the season and time of day, the temperature at the earth’s surface may vary considerably, while underground, temperatures are blunted. In winter, the temperature below the surface is higher than at the surface, and in summer, it is cooler. At a depth of 13 feet (4 m), the soil temperature becomes constant.Aug 1, 2021
That’s the thing. It’s more than 10 times as expensive to bury them, and when maintenance is required it’s much more expensive to pull new, repair, or replace the lines compared to lines that are overhead.
The wildfires are a tragedy no doubt, but ask people if they want to increase their electric bills by 30% to pay for burying all the lines (made up figure, I have no idea) and I bet you’d get a resounding no, except for people who have built in fire-prone areas.
Germany has an estimated 5.7 million kilometers (3.5 million miles) of underground cables and pipes for power, gas, telecommunications, water and sewage. That’s as long as seven round trips to the moon but not enough to carry the country through the energy transition.May 5, 2023
Our generation would cry poverty if the price of gum went up by a quarter cent. We have never as a group seen anything worth taking money for. Yet if we want a new Cadillac no big deal out comes the wallet.
Note the Germans drive Audis, Mercedes and BMWs. Being cheap leaves us only producing a Caddy.
Comes back to who are the slobs stuck with supply side econ? The demand side econ side of things made Germany a much richer nation. Now it is their turn to listen to the bull.
OK, but I’m not sure there’s any comparison there. You can’t deliver gas, water, and sewage through the air, so those figures are verklempt. And, not to put too fine a point on it, those are already “sunk” costs. To go back and bury electrical cables means starting over almost from the beginning, excepting some dense urban areas where it’s already done. That would be vastly expensive, which doesn’t mean it can’t be done, it just means there’s a significant cost involved.
Yet we also don’t (yet?) see gas, water and sewage delivered via surface systems. They are all underground. So burying other utilities in (below?) adjacent underground networks is not unreasonable. We just experienced an 1880s large sewage pipe failure earlier this year. Took about 4-5 months to fix because of the age and location of the failure. Putting in systems with inspection walkways means far smaller problems can be identified early and fixed–rather than having an unexpected major break (or 2 or 3) that causes significant damage.
Agreed. But they were put there because there is no other way, so people are used to the cost. Electric (and cable and once-upon-a-time telephone) went overhead because it was cheaper by far, and now those costs have become the norm.
I’m not saying it can’t be done, just that it won’t be done outside of a few exceptional areas.
Cell phones are killing landline, so the overhead cost is really the underground fiber optic system the cell towers use. And so do most landlines–they get converted to VOIP and use the fiber network as well.
Cable is doing the same thing. Analog to digital = MORE PROFIT. Otherwise, it would not happen. 5G may replace both, but can’t say yet. I can’t get it here and I am near or in a 5G zone. 4G LTE is good with AT&T–but not T-Mobile (essentially no bars). Yet this is a “good” area for T-Mobile, but only near ground level. I am 50+ feet up–in a concrete-and-steel high rise. Be interesting to see what 6G could do.
Power is awaiting two innovations. The SMR and near-room-temp superconductors.