Why Electric Utilities Needs to Be Held Accountable for Infrastructure Upkeep
“Why do electric utilities always need to be held accountable for maintaining their infrastructure?”
By ensuring that the general public receives their power, electric utilities hold some of the greatest infrastructure responsibility in the modern world. However, in order to show that they can handle this level of responsibility, they need to be responsible to look after the condition of their own assets. Failure to do this can great havoc on the general public. To illustrate, Pacific Gas and electricity in Northern California had been negligent about looking over their own transmission infrastructure for decades. As a result of this, one autumn day heavy winds broke one transmission line that would ignite what would become the paradise fire. This cost the company and the public tens of billions of dawn rulers of damages and dozens of lives were lost. This is Why Electric Utilities Needs to Be Held Accountable for Infrastructure Upkeep.
“What are bottlenecks to electricity transmission?”
Electrons moves along transmission lines analogous to cars through a freeway. And like cars, if there is too much trying to get through at the same time, it leads to complete obstruction. These transmission bottlenecks are the bane of every utility, and will become a hindrance for renewable energy as peak electricity production hours often leads to a sudden surge of new electrons.
“How can we transmit electricity outside of grid boundaries?”
Electricity is usually thought of as being generated and distributed inside the grid boundaries. However, this is not always the case. When this does happen, electricity is said to be wheeled. There are two types of wheeling, one where generation is inside the grid boundary while the load is not (wheel-out) and one where both are outside (wheel-through).
Why Situational Awareness of the Grid Is Crucial for Electricity Resiliency
“Why is monitoring the grid so crucial for electricity resilience?”
One of the most fundamental parts of building resilience is preventing cascading outages. If even a single transmission line snaps, then it could overwhelm other ones, eventually resulting in a large-scale power loss. One of the key tools to preventing this is having situational awareness of what is going on in the grid, so one can react fast enough to mishaps. This is Why Situational Awareness of the Grid Is Crucial for Electricity Resiliency.
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Cascading Power Failures
“How can a large-scale power outage occur from just a single component failure?”
The modern power grid is a feat of human ingenuity. One of the most interconnected systems in existence, it allows for terawatts of power generated to reach millions of consumers. However, this great interconnection comes with one drawback. If even one component fails, then the additional stress on other parts can cause more failures which can cascade until a completed blackout occurs. These Cascading Power Failures are a utility’s bane and resilience strategies must be developed to counter the probability of these events.
How to Properly Use Distributed Energy Resources for Resilience
“How should we use distributed energy resources to build resilience?”
Distributed energy resources such as solar and wind energy are shaping up to be the next dominant paradigm in energy. And one of their most touted benefits is the increased resilience that they will bring. However, research has shown that this will only occur if they are deployed in a careful manner. This means that they will need to be planned to provide backup to vulnerable transmission lines, relieve congestion, and be placed under control of grid operators. This is How to Use Distributed Energy Resources for Resilience.
Wholesale Electricity Markets
“How do utility companies purchase electricity generation?”
Utility companies are responsible for transmitting electricity. However, they do not always own generation facilities. Instead, they may purchase it on a competitive platform known as a wholesale electricity market. This decoupling of electrical generation and transmission can create a multitude of opportunities for Power Purchase Agreements.