Optimized Power Grid
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the electric grid, with a U.S. generating capacity of 1,100 GW
delivering roughly 4.1 million-GWh per year, is a critical resource that provides 30% of all energy consumed
by American homes and businesses.
A reliable, efficient, secure, and resilient electric grid is essential for reducing greenhouse gases, deploying
renewable and clean energy sources at scale, facilitating dynamic reductions in electric use, and protecting critical
infrastructures. However, our Nation's ability to meet the growing demand for reliable electricity is challenged by
an aging electricity transmission and distribution system and by vulnerabilities in our energy supply chain. The U.S.
Department of Energy is helping develop a modern and optimized grid through technologies such as energy storage systems,
advanced cables and conductors and power electronics devices for integration of renewables while ensuring that our
nation's energy infrastructure is protected from cyber attacks. Liebman & Associates (L&A)
can help you develop the right partnerships with government and industry to capitalize on the resources and technologies
that are available for your business.
- Transmission System: Transmission ties urban loads to affordable sources of generation and
connects regions for enhanced reliability. Transmission system expansion is needed so that remote renewable energy
(especially utility-scale solar and wind) can reach demand centers such as large cities, but better management is
needed as higher penetration of variable generation is integrated with traditional baseload electricity sources.
R&D is needed to enhance understanding of the power system and enable responses to changing system and market
conditions, as well as ensure reliable and efficient grid operations under high penetration of variable generation.
Advanced grid modeling can enhance the electricity industry's analytical capability by upgrading, extending,
and replacing existing grid modeling and analysis, visualization, and decision-making tools. Such a comprehensive,
integrated suite of computer simulation models and computational techniques would enhance electric system
understanding needed for transmission planning, improved operations, and anticipation of the impacts of new
generation on load balancing.
- Distribution System: Today's electric distribution system is primarily based on a radial
circuit design with one-way power flow. It employs few measuring and control devices beyond substations for
situational awareness and control and most devices are capable of only one-way communication. As the distribution
grid becomes increasingly decentralized with growing penetration of distributed energy resources both by utilities
and non-utilities, including consumers, two-way power flow will be essential; thus, there is a need for two-way
communications and decentralized controls to better match supply and demand in real time, as well as for system
integration and adaptive protection coordination. An electric distribution system that includes real-time controls,
distributed generation and energy storage, and advanced metering infrastructure will also improve the adoption and
use of energy efficient buildings, appliances, and equipment. In addition, to realize the future potential of plug-in
electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, an electric distribution system is needed that can provide cost-effective
charging services to consumers without adding to peak demand or causing other harmful impacts on the grid.
Advances are needed in the development of a self-configuring substation linking the distribution system, smart
grid and reactive components like transformers and switches in real time.
- Smart Grid: Consumers today have limited information and lack the opportunity to participate
with the electric power system because the system currently lacks the means for two-way information exchanges between
the grid operator and consumers. This limited consumer participation hampers the ability to achieve the market
potential for energy conservation and demand response. Smart grid technologies integrate advanced sensor, information,
communication, and control technologies into electric system operations. They utilize two-way communications,
advanced sensors and digital controls to provide real-time information to grid operators about the power flows
across the transmission and distribution (T&D) system and enable greater use of demand response, energy
storage, advanced metering infrastructure and other peak load reducing strategies. These same smart grid systems,
along with power electronics devices such as switches and inverters, make it easier and more cost-effective
to integrate renewable energy and distributed generation and storage technologies, including plug-in hybrid
electric vehicles, with the electric grid in a safe and reliable manner. Advances are needed in integrated
distribution management systems for distribution automation, prognostic health monitoring of critical assets
for enhanced asset utilization and reliability, and voltage regulation and protection schemes for high penetration
- Energy Storage: Grid-scale energy storage can provide grid balancing and transform renewable
generation resources into dispatchable and firm electric power, substantially increasing the economic value and
use of wind and solar power in the U.S. Widespread grid-scale storage functioning as spinning reserves would
also have an immediate impact on CO2 emissions reductions by displacing fossil fuel power plants. The development
of new technologies for the widespread deployment of cost-effective grid-scale energy storage will be critical
in enabling the drive toward low-carbon electric power generation. Cost-effective grid scale electrical storage
will simultaneously increase grid reliability, reduce CO2 emissions, and enable widespread penetration of intermittent
renewable generation. New collaborations with states, utilities, and renewable developers are needed to demonstrate
and deploy grid scale and community energy storage facilities to allow optimization of storage technologies,
development of operational experience, reduction of manufacturing costs, and encourage support by the financial
- Cyber Security: The increasing use of communications and control technology throughout the
energy sector makes the energy transmission and distribution systems attractive targets to cyber attacks, with
potential consequences including significant interruption of economic activity or, even, to catastrophic loss
of life. A fundamentally new approach to cyber security is needed to adequately protect the energy infrastructure
against sophisticated cyber adversaries.
- Consumer Engagement: Energy efficient buildings, appliances and equipment also benefit the modern
smart grid. Smart meters and appliances, conveying price and congestion information received from the utility, can
automatically prompt consumers and their end-use equipment to use less energy at a specific time, thereby relieving
stress on the grid. The use of distributed generation such as photovoltaics and the emergence of electric vehicles
require an electric distribution system that can provide cost-effective charging to the consumer while easily
dispatching energy back to the grid, if needed.
Commercial and industrial electricity consumers can leverage these technologies and government support to increase the
reliability of their operations while reducing electricity costs. Utilities can improve reliability and address growing
demand by leveraging these resources to increase operational speed and efficiency. All companies can benefit from
the greater reliability and security afforded by these technologies. Ask L&A to show you how.
Dare to ask, "What if..."