Today we look at a set of technologies that can boost the performance of the existing grid, relieving congestion and making room for new renewables relatively quickly and cheaply. (If you don't want to read, you can listen.)
Only somewhat related to the topic, but I wanted to point to this excellent article I saw in my morning's LA Times on challenges to upgrading the transmission network serving Los Angeles (https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-02-09/joe-biden-wants-100-clean-energy-will-california-show-that-its-possible ). E.g., ideas like burying transmission cables offshore to avoid eminent domain issues. One thing that comes through loud and clear is that role of obscure agencies, like the Public Utilities Commission, in making timely and smart decisions about the future structure of the transmission grid is absolutely critical.
I'd love to read (or listen to) a David Roberts interview with people running these organizations.
Hey David - Reading about the misalignment of incentives for electrical utilities I keep thinking the answer is building a new utility from scratch. Is this an idea you've explored at all and what are your thoughts on it?
Hi David -
When I saw that 12 senators have written FERC requesting advancement in GETs, my first thought is that it would be great if we can harness the energy (see what i did there) of the climate justice activist movement to this end? I.e. - get people to contact their Senators, POTUS, whomever and let them know their consituents want these changes to the transmission system to happen, similarly to how we are telling them to cancel pipeline projects.
Put another way - how do we get your great technical information out to folx who can raise their voices to bring it to fruition.
I may be missing something, but this strikes me as the kind of work that falls squarely in the "just transition" category.
David (or others), in the very first transmission post you had stated, "Early morning solar in Arizona could go to New York at the peak of its afternoon demand" if we had a functioning national grid. That's helpful framing to understand the benefits but that's not actually how it would work, right? Electrons would just flow through the past of least resistance, and while you can manipulate the grid with the help of FACTS and other grid enhancements, you can't actually "send" power across the country. This question exposes my lack of electrical understanding but how far can you link HVDC lines before energy losses become a significant factor? If Arizona sun couldn't reasonably be expected to regularly supply New York, could Kansas wind? What are the limits of transmission losses?