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Electricity infrastructure touches us all - the key challenge, pertinent to this panel session, is to enable secure and very high-confidence sensing, communication and control of a heterogeneous, widely dispersed, yet globally interconnected system, which is a serious technological problem in any case. It is even more complex and difficult to control it for optimal efficiency and maximum benefit to the ultimate consumers while still allowing all its business components to compete fairly and freely. The North American power network may be considered to be the largest and most complex machine in the world - its transmission lines connect all the electric generation and distribution on the continent. In that respect, it exemplifies many of the complexities of electric power infrastructure and how technological innovation combined with efficient markets and enabling policies can address them. This network represents an enormous investment, including over 15,000 generators in 10,000 power plants, and hundreds of thousands of miles of transmission lines and distribution networks. With diminished transmission and generation capacities, and with dramatic increases in inter-regional bulk power transfers and diversity of transactions, the electric power grid is being used in ways for which it was not originally designed. Grid congestion and a typical power flows have been increasing during the last twenty five years, while customer expectations of reliability and cyber-physical security are rising to meet the needs of a pervasively digital world.
Power and Energy Society General Meeting, 2010 IEEE
Date of Conference: 25-29 July 2010