Teaching an old grid new tricks
Increased investor interest in the improvement of power grids drives success
Five years ago, a small number of overgrown trees caused a blackout for a large section of the northeastern part of the U.S. The health of the nation’s electric grid has not improved much since then. Increasing demand for electricity is putting more pressure on an aging network. Deregulation of the utility industry has stymied investment in transmission lines.
According to Forbes a multitude of companies have invested large amounts of money in the grid but ignored the transmission line; the reason being that the potential to turn a profit from a network that is already in place is much greater than investing in a new one.
Optimal Technologies International commercially unveiled technology in May that could possibly eradicate blackouts. California’s grid operator has successfully tested the system although other results are still pending.
In March, Virginia based GridPoint and Xcel Energy combined with Duke Energy to test technology that could potentially lower the stress placed upon the grid by charging hybrid vehicles. Xcel Energy has since announced that it will be using the technology to build the first " Smart Grid City " in Boulder, Colo. It remains to be seen how enthusiastic local grids will be to embrace the new technology. However, with a steady source of investment from private companies and the government there is a better chance for improvement than before.
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey