Is the Age of Supergrids about to Dawn?
Date: Sept. 21, 2016
As the “make electricity here, use it here” philosophy takes hold, many trend-watchers are focused on microgrids.
But supergrids are attracting attention too. The MIT Technology Review, named them one of its “10 Breakthrough Technologies,” because of their ability to utilize high-voltage direct current power lines to carry electricity much further than AC power cables can.
The MIT Technology Review goes on to note that, “The Swiss conglomerate ABB has solved the main technical hurdle to such grids. It has developed a practical high-voltage DC circuit breaker that disconnects parts of the grid that have a problem, allowing the rest to keep working.”
Long-Distance Delivery of Electricity
Supergrids hold the promise of solving worldwide energy shortages by transporting electricity from areas of the world where it can be cheaply produced by solar or wind to areas where it is needed the most. One organization that supports them is the Desertec Foundation, which promotes the idea of building power grids that can transmit electricity over distances of 3,000 kilometers or more to bring electricity to the poor people of the world. The organization’s materials state that “90 percent of humanity lives 3,000 km away from a desert.”
Some Supergrids to Watch
- The TransWest Express Transmission Project intends to deliver wind power from Wyoming to Colorado, Utah and Nevada.
- The NordLink HVDC Interconnector carries electricity via undersea cables between Norway and Germany.
- The ASEAN Power Grid, under development in China, will allow electricity to travel from China to Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Stay on the Cutting Edge . . .
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