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Kent Knutson's picture
Energy Market Specialist, Hitachi Energy USA Inc.

Kent Knutson is a market specialist focusing on energy industry intelligence for Hitachi Energy.  He has more than 30 years of experience designing and developing intelligence products for some...

  • Member since 2018
  • 236 items added with 161,819 views
  • Dec 20, 2022

There is no transition without transmission!

This is a telling article by Ari Plachta of The Sacramento Bee published in Government Technology calling attention to the growing need for transmission development in California. One of the article's highlights is the discussion of how Pacific Gas and Electric Company's Vaca-Dixon substation came to be 100 years ago - at the time, the world's largest substation connecting the world's longest high-voltage power line. It is time for a construction renaissance.  

Link to The Reporter story commemorating the 100th anniversary of the completion of the Vaca-Dixon substation and power line:

Julian Silk's picture
Julian Silk on Dec 21, 2022

I don't disagree with this.  But if you were asked why the consumers couldn't build solar or wind (or micro-hydro, where possible) and avoid the power lines by having extremely local micro-grids (which I have argued elsewhere will not happen, so this is just hypothetical), how would you answer it?  Unless the lines are buried underground, you have esthetic damage to the landscape - clear-cutting trees, effects on water and land quality, electromagnetic transmission effects, etc.  Plus you have to secure the substations, which North Carolina is showing is not trivial.  This isn't argue against the transmission builds, but those in a situation where there is major opposition to any builds have to answer these questions, and it would be helpful to learn answers to use with them.

Peter Farley's picture
Peter Farley on Dec 23, 2022

There are many alternatives to new transmission,

1. Energy Efficiency: California has a milder climate than Italy and 1/3rd less people yet uses only 6% less electricity

2. I read somewhere that NREL did a study that showed California could get 70% of its electricity from rooftop solar. That was back when solar panels were about 18% efficient. With 22% efficiency available now and 25-30% coming, why isn't California getting serious about behind the meter solar not just on roofs but over carparks, railroad stations, agri-voltaics etc. California has 50% more people than Australia and less than half the behind the meter solar. A successful program could actually reduce the amount of grid supplied electricity

3. Better utilisation of existing transmission.

a) Californias 10GW of hydro generates 14.5 TWh of electricity per year 17% CF, floating solar or adjacent wind and solar could triple the utilisation of transmission to those facilities

b) Restringing existing transmission lines with advanced carbon fibre cored conductors which can double the capacity of the lines and reduce sag in hot weather reducing fire risk

c) using virtual transmission with storage at the load and or generating ends of the lines to

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