Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ideas to Bolster Power Grid Run Up Against the System’s Many Owners

More good than bad in an article tackling electricity trade/transmission issues.

Ideas to Bolster Power Grid Run Up Against the System’s Many Owners -
The grid is divided into regions that cover a state or a compact area (like New England) or slightly larger units, like PJM, which once stood for Pennsylvania-Jersey-Maryland but now extends through West Virginia, Ohio and the Chicago area. Almost all planning is done within those regions, as if they were islands. Federal officials say there is not even a regulatory mechanism for planning a line that does more than connect two regions.
“Given the history of this particular industry and its complexity, it is just not going to happen, at least not any time soon,” said James J. Hoecker, a former member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has some jurisdiction over transmission lines. One problem, he said, is “resource nationalism,” in which individual states want to use local resources, whether they are coal or yet-to-be-built offshore wind, rather than importing from neighbors in a way that could be more economical.
For now, engineers in the grid redesign project have determined that conducting business as usual between 2010 and 2030 would require $18.5 billion in new transmission lines in the United States, while a system designed to integrate renewables like wind energy on a large scale would cost $115.2 billion.
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