The existing power distribution system was never designed for consumers to have an EV in every garage or for farmers at the end of the line to install PV systems or operate a fleet of all-electric farming implements. At the transmission level, lines were built to support balanced power flow originating from large central-station facilities composed of “always on” baseload plants supplemented by peaking facilities available to support periods of higher-than-normal load.
Grid planners never contemplated the need to support unbalanced power flow from generating sources originating on the distribution grid. Until recently, having instrumentation on one phase of transmission was considered acceptable because unbalanced power flow was a minor issue. That is no longer true and utilities across the country and throughout the developed world are reassessing how to renovate and modernize the grid to meet modern demands.
While grid modernization programs will vary among utilities, there are fundamental components that should be considered for every project. Planning that focuses on making the grid strong, smart and sustainable will help utilities cope with today’s challenges of maintaining reliability and resiliency.
Check out the slideshow below to see a glimpse of what the future may resemble.