Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Is transmission grid expansion necessary?

This article (and the commentary following) at Renewable Energy World is intriguing in this regard.

The mass media began tossing out the argument in recent years that in order to accommodate new alternative energy sources on the electrical grid, there was dire need to upgrade and expand the transmission infrastructure. Sometimes the argument was muddy. There was talk of the need for a "smart" grid (intelligent load management, requiring information transmission and logic), and sometimes the stated goal was the need to expand the grid due to its supposed insufficiency to carry the new power.

An example project, about to be built in Southern California, is described here in Wikipedia. This project is mentioned in the article.

Could most of this talk of expansion be a ruse by the utilities to maintain their power hegemony under the threat of major changes that might include massively distributed generation, as many RE proponents have proposed? More infrastructure projects would mean more profit for them, after all--- just look at the $300 million profit guarantee mentioned for the Sunrise Powerlink project.

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