Bringing Arizona solar to East Coast evenings: Increasing connections in the power grid
- May 5, 2021 11:29 am GMT
This item is part of the Grid Modernization - May 2021 SPECIAL ISSUE, click here for more
For the past 20 years the idea of unifying the eastern and western grids to take advantage of different generation resources, weather and times zones has been floated as one solution to supporting the nation’s energy needs. The narrative usually involves building a “transmission superhighway,” often described as multiple ultra-high-voltage, direct-current lines stretching coast to coast. Others have suggested possibly linking the two grids, which, as demonstrated the last time this occurred between 1967 and 1975, creates an unstable connection point that may continue to separate the interconnections.
Neither may be feasible—or necessary—to realize the vision of better power flows between the three distinct grids in the U.S. Instead of trying to construct billions of dollars’ worth of transmission, the potential exists to upgrade and uprate the seven direct-current intertie converter stations that currently bridge the interconnections as well as some of the surrounding transmission lines and other equipment.
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