Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Will America's Power Grid Be Able To Keep Pace With Future Demand?

Date:
May 8, 2009
Source:
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
Summary:
America's power grid today resembles the country's canal system of the 19th Century. A marvel of engineering for its time, the canal system eventually could not keep pace with the growing demands of transcontinental transportation.

The evolution of America's energy needs has forced scientists and engineers to re-examine the operations, efficiency and security of the national power grid.
Credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

America's power grid today resembles the country's canal system of the 19th Century. A marvel of engineering for its time, the canal system eventually could not keep pace with the growing demands of transcontinental transportation.

More than 150 years later, America's infrastructure is again changing in ways that its designers never anticipated. Distributed and intermittent electricity generation, such as wind power, is rapidly expanding, new smart meters are giving consumers more control over their energy usage, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles may someday radically increase the overall demand for electricity.

The evolution of America's energy needs has forced scientists and engineers to re-examine the operations, efficiency and security of the national power grid. The creation of a more secure and efficient national power grid requires significant innovations in the way we transmit electricity and monitor its use.

To better assess the challenges facing the power grid, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory hosted a workshop that brought together power system and modeling experts from federal agencies, national laboratories and academia.

"Modeling and simulation have proved to be effective tools for the power industry on many levels," said Mark Petri, Argonne's technology development director and one of the workshop's organizers. "We need to develop a comprehensive and integrated approach that will enable us to better understand the full implications of an evolving power grid as we plan for future demand and power sources."

The workshop centered on the need for new methods to simulate the national power grid by modeling the creation and flow of electric power as well as the grid's connection to other critical infrastructures, such as transportation, gas, water and communications. Through detailed simulations of how electric power is supplied and transferred around the country, researchers can bolster not only the grid's security but also its reliability, efficiency and resiliency.

"Implementing smart grid technologies on a large scale will not be trivial," Petri added. "The challenges go beyond technical and economic issues. The smart grid technologies could fundamentally change how national power grid systems operate and respond to disruptions."

Because of the great diversity of ways in which electricity is created, distributed and consumed, engineers face a challenge in creating reliable models of large power networks. They have to deal with the intermittent nature of some of the sources (like wind or solar), optimize how power is transmitted and balance economic, security and environmental priorities when finding solutions.

"In the short-term," Petri said, "these simulations could help devise ways to solve the problem of grid congestion, which currently costs consumers many hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Even small improvements in grid efficiency that better models and simulations would produce would make the investment cost-effective."

The workshop, which was sponsored by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, identified barriers that a national grid simulation capability would need to overcome to be effective. The findings of the workshop appear in the report "National Power Grid Simulation Capability: Needs and Issues." According to Petri, an operational plan for a national power grid simulation capability that engages industry to better understand their needs, capabilities and concerns would support a more secure and reliable electric power grid system for the future.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/Argonne National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

DOE/Argonne National Laboratory. "Will America's Power Grid Be Able To Keep Pace With Future Demand?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090507173706.htm>.
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory. (2009, May 8). Will America's Power Grid Be Able To Keep Pace With Future Demand?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090507173706.htm
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory. "Will America's Power Grid Be Able To Keep Pace With Future Demand?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090507173706.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins