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Grid 2050

Shaping system transformation.

Fortnightly Magazine - August 2011

integration of renewables and improved system protection and restoration.

5) Update macro energy policy analysis tools to reflect the role of the electric power system in overall energy policy analyses. The current tools (National Energy Modeling System, NEMS) have very limited ability to reflect the impact of power system investments, thus hindering the national grid policy debate on how best to deliver the grid we want in 2050 and beyond.

6) Answer the question, “How can we best conduct the debate on defining the grid we want in 2050?” Concurrent forces of smart grid innovation and clean energy policy combine to offer the possibility for shaping the answer. One potentially constructive approach would be for the nation to complement today’s broad local and regional efforts to modernize the grid with a structured, transparent discussion across all stakeholders to define the power system that we want and can have with the new tools that are emerging.

This discussion should be centered on a set of long-term, national outcomes and key questions, and informed by a robust set of energy scenarios that provide a basis for planning, investment and innovation by all stakeholders. This is a substantial body of work that is likely to take years to complete. The objective would be to ultimately provide a long-term set of targets for investment and transformation that fit the time horizon of major infrastructure investments, and to inform where institutional and regulatory innovations are required to complement technology and business advances to maximize the overall effectiveness of our collective national investment in our future power system.

The future is bright with opportunity to dramatically improve our current system and create bold new approaches that are enabled by smart grid innovations and the nation’s push for a clean energy future. Now is the time to enhance our systematic approach to making long-term, meaningful transformation a reality.

 

Endnotes:

1. Global positioning satellite timing signals are ubiquitous, precise and accurate, enabling determination of local voltage and current—and associated phasor—at a rate of 30 times per second or faster, compared with supervisory control and data acquisition readings, which occur at a rate of once every 4 seconds.

2. Assessment of Future Vehicle Transportation Options and Their Impact on the Electric Grid, DOE-NETL-2010/1466, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Jan. 10, 2011.

3. Kintner-Meyer, M., “Smart Charger Technology for Customer Convenience and Grid Reliability,” Electric Vehicle Symposium 24, Proceedings, Stavanger, Norway, May 15-17, 2009.

4. Tuffner, F. K. and M. C. W. Kintner-Meyer, “Using Electric Vehicles to Mitigate Imbalance Requirements Associated with an Increased Penetration of Wind Generation,” in Proceedings of the 2011 IEEE PES General Meeting , Detroit, Mich., July 24-28, 2011 (forthcoming).

5. Electric Power Industry 2009: Year in Review, Energy Information Agency, Issued November 2010, updated January and April 2011.

6. Y. V. Makarov, et al., “Analysis of Balancing Authorities’ Cooperation Methods with High Variable Generation Penetration,” Proc. 9th International Workshop on Large-Scale Integration of Wind Power into Power Systems as well as on Transmission Networks for Offshore Wind Power Plants , Québec City, Québec, Canada, Oct. 18 and