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Directory:Electrical Grid

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The role of the grid, transmission losses, accident and sabotage vulnerability, other issues and applications.


Grid Problems

Grid Vulnerability to Solar Flares

See Directory: Remedies for Grid Vulnerabilities to Solar Flares#News Stories about Grid Vulnerability to Solar Flares - separate page

Other Vulnerability

See Directory:Electrical Grid Vulnerability - moved to separate page

Health Ramifications

See also: Directory:Bio-Energetics#Environmental Electromagnetic Concerns
  • Bio-Energetics >
    Cattle respond to magnetic fields from power lines - Researchers, who reported last year that most cows and deer tend to orient themselves in a north-south alignment, have now found that power lines can disorient the animals. When the power lines run east-west, that's the way grazing cattle tend to line up. (Salt Lake Tribune / AP; March 16, 2009) (Nature)

High Power Worker - stunts like these will become obsolete as energy becomes distributed through new energy technology advances, making the grid unnecessary.

Ambient Energy

  • Pylon Ambient Energy Lights Fluorescent Bulbs - Hundreds in UK flock each night to see artistic display of 1300 fluorescent bulbs lit by overhead high-power lines. Lights ebb as a person walks near them. Tubes give a shock when held while jumping off the ground. (PESN; March 6, 2004)

Government & Politics

  • Smart Grid: Government spying targets Rural America - Smart Grid is closely related to the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), and both programs are designed to spy on Americans. Even more disturbing than the purpose of these government-condoned intrusions into our lives is the fact that the Obama Administration feels that Smart Grid is so important that it had to be funded in the stimulus package—which is supposed to be used for emergencies only. (InfoWars; March 7, 2009)
  • Alternative energy faces power line "bottleneck" in U.S. West - How much "green" power will come from the U.S. West is uncertain if the sunny and wind-swept region cannot overcome a shortage of power lines. For years the rule of thumb was $1 million per mile, but a recent project in Southern California cost $16.5 million per mile. The "bottleneck" is Federal land use and bureaucratic delays. (Reuters; Jan. 21, 2009)
  • Cheney Suppressed Evidence in California Energy Crisis - In-depth investigation by Jason Leopold shows how Vice President Dick Cheney pressured federal energy regulators to conceal evidence of widespread market manipulation by energy companies during the California electricity crisis in 2001. (Truthout; July 19, 2007)

Grid Solutions

  • Feature: Contests / Grid >
    GE Ecomagination Challenge - In addition to prize money for the best ideas, GE and its funding partners have allocated $200 million to go toward the development of key concepts that will help reshape the grid, whether it be by providing more affordable and stable clean power, or help with the transmission, or help in the efficiency on the consumption end. See the NEC's proposal to fund its vetting of the best Maverick technologies. (PESWiki; Sept. 29, 2010)

Distributed Energy

See also: PowerPedia:Distributed Generation

  • Why the Microgrid Could Be the Answer to Our Energy Crisis - The evidence is growing that the privately owned, consumer-driven, small-scale, geographically distributed renewables (=microgrid) could deliver a 100% green-energy future faster and cheaper than big power projects alone. Why the big utilities are fighting it with all they've got. (Fast Company; July 1, 2009)
  • Distributed Generation Technologies: Applications and Challenges - The practice of installing and operating electric generating equipment at or near the site of where the power is used is known as "distributed generation". Distributed generation technologies include engines, small (and micro) turbines, fuel cells, and photovoltaic systems. (Energy Business Report; Aug. 2007)
  • Lessons from the Grid - The centralized power grid model is essentially resistant to change. Fully de-centralized power generation has its own drawbacks. Author argues for an integrated model of power production and distribution. (NewMediaExplorer; Feb. 7, 2007)
  • The Case for Decentralized Generation of Electricity - Decentralized generation could save $5 trillion in a capital investment, reduce power costs by 40 percent, reduce vulnerabilities, and cut greenhouse gas emissions in half. (Skeptical Inquirer, Volume 29; Issue 1; excerpt from ZPEnergy; Jan. 7, 2005)

Smart Grid

See Directory:Smart Grid - separate page addressing technologies and resources relating to the Smart Grid, which is an effort to bring about better communication and response between the various grid components, preventing brownouts and leveling out peak loads.

Image:Pathwaytopower 95x95.jpg Image:Joule meter ConsumerPowerline 95x95.jpg Image:GridPoint name 95x95.jpg

New US Interstate Grid

  • A Costly and Unnecessary New Electricity Grid - While the smart grid approach makes sense, plans to string new high-voltage lines to bring wind power via a power interstate from the midsection of the country to the coasts, where most of the demand is, could be expensive and unnecessary, and a distraction from more urgent needs -- a boondogle. (Technology Review; July 14, 2009)


  • Power Optimizer - Reduce energy consumption in a business environment from 8% to 25% through better efficiency using a patented semiconductor chip that utilizes specific wavelengths of infrared light to stabilize the vibration state of "spinning" electrons, reducing heat and improving current throughput. Video (Power Optimizer; Nov. 18, 2008)
  • A Power Grid Smartens Up - A $100 million project launched in Boulder, Colorado, by Xcel Energy, will equip homes with smart power meters that help people reduce demand when electricity is most expensive; and will allow the utility to reroute power and take better advantage of renewable power sources. (MIT Technology Review; Mar. 20, 2008)

Case for DC Power

  • Big Steps In Building: Change Our Wiring to 12 Volt DC - Though Tesla may have been right about long-distance transmission of power via alternating current, Edison may yet have a case for local distribution. 12VDC power needs no childproofing, no wall warts, creates no EMF and makes adding incremental sources like solar and wind much easier. (TreeHugger; Sept. 4, 2007)
  • Off Goes the Power Current Started by Thomas Edison - Wednesday, Con Edison ended 125 years of direct current electricity service that began when Thomas Edison opened his Pearl Street power station. Con Ed will now only provide alternating current, in a final, vestigial triumph by Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse. (NY Times Blog; Nov. 14, 2007) (See also Slashdot)

Positive Government & Politics

  • Gore wants U.S. electricity grid to run on renewable energy by 2018 - Military-intelligence studies warning of "dangerous national security implications" tied to climate change, including the possibility of "hundreds of millions of climate refugees" causing instability around the world, and Al Gore said the United States is dangerously vulnerable because of its reliance on foreign oil. (International Herald Tribune; July 17, 2008)
    • Al Gore's Inconvenient Plan - "Al Gore said that the United States should produce all of its electricity from carbon-free, renewable energy within 10 years. Although he didn't lay out specifics, he seems to want to do it with wind, solar, and geothermal, although it's not clear from his speech whether nuclear would be acceptable. Can it be done? It isn't likely." (Technology Review; July 18, 2008)

Green Transmission Methods

  • Hydraulics > Hydristor > Transmission of Grid Power Using Pressurized Air - Instead of transmitting electricity over high-voltage cables, Kasmer suggests transmitting power via high-pressure air, which would be pressurized and depressurized via his infinitely variable pneumatic conversion technology, which would serve as the transformers in the system. (PESN; Jan. 23, 2008)

Research and Development

  • Superconductors / Grid >
    Sapphire fibers carry 40 times more electricity than copper wire - Researchers from Tel Aviv University have now developed a new type of cost-effective superconductive wire made from single-crystal sapphire fibers, which are then coated in a ceramic mixture, which they claim can carry 40 times more electricity than copper wiring of the same size. Slightly thicker than a human hair, they must be continuously cooled in order to remain in a superconducting state. (GizMag; September 9, 2011)


  • Assessment of Integration of Wind into Utility Power Systems - The Utility Wind Integration Group report says "we don't see any fundamental technical barriers at the present time to wind penetrations of up to 20 percent of system peak demand, which is far beyond where we are today." (BusinessWire; May 22, 2006)


  • Microgrids as Peer-to-Peer Energy - Small networks of power generators in "microgrids" could transform the electricity network in the way that the net changed distributed communication. (PESWiki index)

Vehicle to Grid

See also Directory:Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles -- PHEV#Vehicle to Grid

  • EVs > Plug-ins >
    Delaware Paying Electric Car Owners to Power Grid - A newly signed law is said to make Delaware, USA, the first entity in the world to reward owners of electric cars with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, making V2G vehicles work like an electrical sponge, capable of absorbing excess energy when demand for power is low, and returning some back to the electric grid when the demand for power is high, paid/charged at the same rate. (Newswise; Sept. 21, 2009)


  • Storage / Grid >
    Cryogen Energy Storage System Could Cut Peak Fuel Use by Half - A new energy storage system being developed by the University of Leeds and the Chinese Academy of Sciences uses excess energy from off peak times to chill a nitrogen-oxygen mixture called cryogen. Then, the next time demand spikes, the mixture can be boiled using waste heat to produce power. (Inhabitat; Aug. 12, 2010)
  • Massive Electricity Storage, Part 1 - Electricity is generated and consumed instantaneously. Unlike other energy supply systems--oil, natural gas, or coal-–the electricity power grid or the generation plants that supply the grid have essentially no storage or "surge" capacity to smooth out peaks and valleys in demand or to provide reserve capacity during sudden spikes in demand. 23-minute Panel Discussion (Power Engineering; August 5, 2008)
  • Massive Electricity Storage, Part 2 - The huge size of the U.S. grid with a wide diversity of power generation sources provides stability and minimizes the impact of fluctuating renewable power on the composite system load profile. In comparison, weaker grids, covering isolated areas not connected to major grids, are much more sensitive to, and less able to tolerate, the fluctuating renewable power. (Power Engineering; August 5, 2008)
  • Revolutionary Power Storage - The Non-Planar Super Capacitor could revolutionize our power storage capacity and address our growing demand for consumption. If we use US Patent 7,251,118 (pdf) to construct super capacitors at the delivery end of power lines, establishing a constant power flow, we could decrease maximum capacity requirements. (Leonardo Energy; Nov. 14, 2007)
  • Beacon Power > Making Electrical Grids More Efficient - Rather than marketing its flywheel-based energy storage systems to utilities, which move notoriously slow in adopting such innovations, Beacon Power Corp plans to build its own merchant flywheel plants that move power on and off a power line to stabilize the grid. (MIT Technology Review; Aug. 10, 2006)
  • PG&E Demonstrates Vehicle-to-Grid Technology - Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology allows for the bi-directional sharing of electricity between Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), and the electric power grid. The technology turns each vehicle into a power storage system, increasing power reliability and the amount of renewable energy available to the grid during peak power usage. (Green Car Congress; Apr. 9, 2007)
  • Excess Nightime Energy Could Fuel Over 158 Million Plug-in Hybrids - One common critique of an electric car revolution is that the increased energy demand might just lead to the generation of new power plants, negating some of the cars' positive environmental benefits. Not so, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Energy. (TreeHugger; Sept. 4, 2007)

Grid as a Tool

As Broadband Carrier

  • Electrifying Internet Access - A broadband connection could be as close as — and in — your wall outlet. Several communities are trying Broadband over Power Lines, which could some day be an alternative to cable and DSL. (CBS; Aug. 15, 2005)
  • Meralco says planning broadband via power lines - The top electricity distributor in Manila plans to use its power lines to deliver broadband Internet service. The move is expected to make the Internet more accessible in the country, where only 20 million out of the population of 90 million can go online. (PhysOrg; July 13 2009)
  • Downsides to Power Grid as Internet - Daniel Jackson editorial cites concerns about interference, eavesdropping. (PESN; August 19, 2005) (See also related story and discussion at Slashdot)

Other Grids

  • Europe Backs Supergrids - Brussels-based environmental consulting firm 3E mapped out 3,500 miles of underwater HVDC cables crisscrossing the North Sea, forming a network capable of hooking up 68,000 megawatts' worth of new offshore wind farms - enough generating capacity to meet 13 percent of the region's power consumption. (MIT Technology Review; Dec. 2, 2008)
  • Fire the Grid (.com) - Rather than approaching the problem of what humans have done to the earth from a perspective of becoming independent from the power grid man has made, this site calls for sending a surge of energy through prayer/meditation and other such expressions to the earth for renewal on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 at 11:11 Greenich Mean Time.
  • Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Car Generates Electricity, and Cash - University of Delaware researchers have created a system that enables vehicles to not only run on electricity alone, but also to generate revenue by storing and providing electricity for utilities. The technology--known as V2G, for vehicle-to-grid--lets electricity flow from the car’s battery to power lines and back. (NewsWise; Dec. 3, 2007)


  • Classifieds > Building / Grid >
    Documentary Film Seeks Family Moving Off-Grid - "We’d like to document their move from Suburbia to off the grid, in order to live off the wild, build their own homes, to be safe, and healthy. We’d love to document the journey of moving in while the family is building their new home from scratch or just moving into new property. It can also be a situation where they are just developing it as a 2nd home as well." (PESWiki; September 3, 2012)


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