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Designing an Efficient Electrical Grid Has Never Been So Important

image credit: CTC Global
Dave Bryant's picture
Director Technology CTC Global

Director Technology, CTC Global Corporation. Co-Inventor of ACCC Conductor and ancillary hardware

  • Member since 2012
  • 143 items added with 62,673 views
  • Mar 22, 2021
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In the United States it is estimated that approximately 6% of all electricity generated is lost to the inefficiencies in our transmission and distribution grid.  While great consideration is given to the efficiency of generation equipment and demand-side appliances, very little consideration is given to the efficiency fo the wires that are installed in our power grid; except after-the-fact measurements.   According to EIA, Technical T&D estimated losses in the US are about 200 MILLION MWh per year.  This means that the equivalent of 22,821 MW of power plants are running 100% of the time to only serve the GRID LOSSES that are just heating the air.  A reduction in grid losses will not only reduce the cost of delivered power to consumers and reduce the air and water emissions, it will also reduce the amount of clean and renewable generation resources required to reliably serve the electric load.  The place to consider increasing the efficiency of a GRID project is at the project design stage.  Unlike a decision on more efficient lighting, LED vs incandescent, a poor decision for incandescent lighting can be corrected a year or so later with the light is replaced.  For a GRID project, an overlooked efficiency opportunity is a lost opportunity for 30-50 years.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 22, 2021

Unlike a decision on more efficient lighting, LED vs incandescent, a poor decision for incandescent lighting can be corrected a year or so later with the light is replaced.  For a GRID project, an overlooked efficiency opportunity is a lost opportunity for 30-50 years.

A challenge 30-50 years ago was that we definitely had no idea then that the grid would look like it does today re: distributed resources, intermittent renewables, the urgent need for clean sources, etc. And while there's still unpredictability looking forward, let's as much as possible use the knowledge we have to avoid the same thing happening in the coming decades!

Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Mar 24, 2021

Dave - thanks for sharing - curious with the "Biden's Build Back Better Plan" - do you see more emphasis on the Grid and efficiencies to support DER's.  I have seen quite a few new projects cropping up. Xcel, for one, has a proposal out - wondering if these factors are being considered? 

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