Today, the electrical grid has over 500,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines and more than 5 million miles of lower voltage distribution lines, which supply power from nearly 6,000 large power plants. Together, this system supplies more than 4 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity to the US each year. The extent of it has led the US electrical grid to be called “
Excellent and excellent. Coming from a physics education and 45 yrs as a P&L manager in business, here is the major problem.
Deregulation killed the infrastructure and especially transmission. - Because absolutely no for Profit Power company wants a 10 or 20 year return. America was able to build the long term, low ROI transmission lines when we used "regulated monopolies".
You can not separate "service" from "generation/transmission" as a business model. It's stupid. Because looking at Texas, a complete mess, they have let their CAPEX and long term investment under-invested.
Just on maintainance, say 10% of the $1.6 Trillion of Energy assets should be spend annually on upkeep, improvement and lower cost capital productivity projects. I'm pretty sure you will not find $150 billion on these projects today. annually.
"Some experts, such as Gretchen Bakke and Meredith Angwin, put at least part of the blame for decreasing electricity reliability on the industry restructuring aka “deregulation.” They are quite correct.
My company makes parts for gas turbines, and you have explained some things that I've been confused about for the past 30 years. This is a fantastic series of articles. Subscription upgraded!
I found this high level of ERCOT battery storage a surprise. Also in California.
"With 2.2 GW of operating large-scale battery storage, Texas trails only California and is planning for an additional 29.2 GW to come online by the end of the 2020s. The pipeline consists of 13 GW of stand-alone capacity and 16.2 GW of colocated storage systems, of which 97% are to be paired with a solar project. For perspective, Texas is planning to add about 78 GW to its existing 12-GW solar generation fleet. This is in addition to the state's 40-GW wind fleet — the largest in the US."
It just occurred to me, so i thought i'd come back and share it: what happened with Transmission and Distribution in your beloved Electricity markets, is but a small symptom of the thrust of capitalism:
• "carve out the commodity piece of the business plan so that the big boys club can play with hype and dynamism...ie GROWTH bits and make money [for themselves]".
This is a persistent theme of the thrust of American ingenuity.
You see it in
MLPs for oil and gas distribution.
REITs for Real Estate (let the REIT handle capital for boring buildings with special accounting and tax carveouts)
T&D of the grid.
It's all part of the same thrust. the same itch from the top towards the bottom
Perhaps R&D on distributed "mini-nuke" generators using safer fuels should be on a national security emergency basis.
With regards to grid-steadying, wouldn't it be relatively cheap to build large flywheels and attach them to the grid in lieu of fossil fuel generators?
Excellent, details on NIMBY and uncoordinated regulatory hurdles. I've used the IEA energy flow in teaching, but never thought to look at the implications of that overview for the sheer amount of electricity needed for decarbonization.
It's apparent that there has been no greater contribution to climate change and air pollution than the halting of nuclear power plant construction. The worst part is that the arguments against nuclear seem to be entirely based off of misinformation and vibes. I would love to read your synopsis of the nuclear situation and your thoughts of how to move forward from where we are now.
Your discussion and graph on climate change and extreme weather are misleading since they are measuring disasters by the dollar value of damage which is misleading because as population in areas with extreme weather increases and housing values rise the number of billion dollar events will increase naturally without changes in the underlying weather or climate. It is better to use the actual weather measurements (wind, precipitation, hurricane and tornado scales, temperature, flooding, etc) instead of monetary property loss.
Thank you for this. Going to spread this to my network. Hopefully, they will take time to read it. It's FACTUAL & objective people should read it.
Sadly, so many are emotional & refuse to "think for themselves."
EVERYTHING stops when the grid goes down.
It is the very life blood of the United States.