Power Hungry: Reinventing The U.S. Electric Grid
April 24, 2009 The U.S. electric grid is a complex network of independently owned and operated power plants and transmission lines. Aging infrastructure, combined with a rise in domestic electricity consumption, has forced experts to critically examine the status and health of the nation's electrical systems.
April 27, 2009 The nation's electricity grid is facing a crisis — it's outdated and unprepared for increasing demand and a future that includes more renewable sources of energy. A new digital smart grid is part of the picture envisioned by advocates, as is building new electricity infrastructure.
April 27, 2009 Bringing renewable energies like wind and solar power onto the electric grid is the first step toward making the grid both green and smart, but engineers and power companies must also find solutions to the challenges of renewable energies, which don't produce consistent, reliable power.
April 28, 2009 To create a new energy economy with much more solar and wind energy, thousands of miles of new transmission lines must be built across the nation. But finding suitable locations to place the lines is incredibly complicated without a federal body to oversee planning.
April 28, 2009 By installing a smart meter on her Pennsylvania home, Tammy Yeakel and her family are able to save nearly 20 percent on their electric bill each month. They can track their energy consumption in real time on a Web site provided by her power company, PPL.
April 29, 2009 In many remote areas of the country where wind is plentiful, no power is harnessed from the land because there aren't enough transmission lines to carry the electricity. And though the Plains offer untapped electrical potential, grid managers worry that the erratic nature of wind could make the grid unreliable.
April 29, 2009 The push is on to make the nation's aging electricity grid smarter, so it can handle our growing demand for electricity. Many assume that a smart grid will also be a green grid — delivering clean electricity and helping to address climate change. But that's not necessarily so.
April 30, 2009 As plans are made to revamp the U.S. electric grid, many in the electric industry see their job as a simple one: to keep the lights on. But others, including Xcel Energy, are bringing smart grid technology — and new business challenges — to entire cities.
April 30, 2009 A large sector of the work force that runs the electrical system in the U.S. is expected to retire soon, depleting the supply of workers to maintain the grid and keep the lights on. So power companies find themselves training new workers to repair and maintain some very antiquated equipment.
May 1, 2009 Plans are under way to beef up the nation's electricity transmission grid. At the same time, conservationists are trying to reduce the vast amount of power wasted in homes and offices. If we used energy more efficiently, would we need to spend billions of dollars on a new grid?
April 27, 2009 The prospect of building a national, modern electric grid shares many of the same political and social challenges that President Eisenhower faced when pioneering the national highway system in the mid-1950s.
April 27, 2009 An improved electric grid could potentially make electricity more reliable, more efficient, cleaner and perhaps even cheaper. But what would it cost to actually build it, and how much would it save?
April 30, 2009 Across the Pacific Northwest, large pieces of electrical infrastructure, both old and new, speckle the landscape. From gigantic cooling towers to dams along the Columbia River to the new wind farms sprouting up on hillsides, electricity has worked its way into the fabric of the land.