Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Tuesday November 23, @08:51AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the just-giving-the-idea-a-plug dept.

Macrogrid study: Big value in connecting America's eastern and western power grids:

Those seven threads (technically, they're back-to-back, high-voltage, direct-current connections) join America's Eastern and Western interconnections and have 1,320 megawatts of electric-power handling capacity. (The seam separating the grids runs, roughly, from eastern Montana, down the western borders of South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas and along the western edges of the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles. Texas, with its own grid, is mostly outside the two big grids.)

And they are big grids -- the eastern grid has a generating capacity of 700,000 megawatts and the western 250,000 megawatts. So, up to 1,320 megawatts isn't much electricity moving between the two.

But what if there were bigger connections between the two grids? What if more power moved back and forth? Could that move Iowa wind power, Southwest solar power and Eastern off-shore wind power from coast to coast? Could the West help the East meet its peak demand, and vice versa? Would bigger connections boost grid reliability, resilience and adaptability? Would the benefits exceed the costs?

The short answer: Yes.

That's according to the Interconnections Seam Study, a two-year, $1.5 million study launched as part of a $220 million Grid Modernization Initiative announced in January 2016 by the U.S. Department of Energy.

[...] "The results show benefit-to-cost ratios that reach as high as 2.5, indicating significant value to increasing the transmission capacity between the interconnections under the cases considered, realized through sharing generation resources and flexibility across regions," says a summary of the latest paper.

"So, for every dollar invested, you get up to $2.50 back," said James McCalley, an Iowa State Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering, the Jack London Chair in Power Systems Engineering and a co-author of the papers.

How much would you have to invest? McCalley said it would take an estimated $50 billion to build what researchers are calling a "macrogrid" of major transmission lines that loop around the Midwest and West, with branches filling in the middle and connecting to Texas and the Southeast.

Journal References:
1.) Aaron Bloom, Josh Novacheck, Gregory L. Brinkman, et al. The Value of Increased HVDC Capacity Between Eastern and Western U.S. Grids: The Interconnections Seam Study, (DOI: 10.1109/TPWRS.2021.3115092)
2.) Armando L. Figueroa Acevedo, Ali Jahanbani-Ardakani, Hussam Nosair, et al. Design and Valuation of High-Capacity HVDC Macrogrid Transmission for the Continental US, (DOI: 10.1109/TPWRS.2020.2970865)


Original Submission

Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Reply to Article Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by RedGreen on Tuesday November 23, @09:25AM (7 children)

    by RedGreen (888) on Tuesday November 23, @09:25AM (#1198843)

    getting it built the NIMBY morons will be out in force. They like all the modern conveniences but do not like the needed means of doing it when it comes near them. Just look at the problems now the all the but the power lines affect me or the but the ultrasonic sound from the turbines crap they do. Then add in the parasite corporation who stand to lose their rip-off pricing gouging and the proposal is dead in the water when those bribes start getting paid to the politicians, opps campaign contributions they like to call them...

    --
    "I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
    • (Score: 0, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @10:22AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @10:22AM (#1198846)

      Look, we all know that although the Communists like AOC are pushing electric down our throats as a form of mind control, and most experts agree that windmills kill endangered birds and cause cancer. There is in fact nothing wrong with fossil fuels, the “Global Warming” nonsense was created out of thin air by the Illuminati and Trilaterals. These are the same yahoos that want to alter you DNA with this pointless Covid “vaccine”. Don’t listen to the lies.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @09:18PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @09:18PM (#1199028)

        We all hope you are only trolling with every conspiracy invented by idiots.

      • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Tuesday November 23, @10:56PM

        by hendrikboom (1125) on Tuesday November 23, @10:56PM (#1199078) Homepage Journal

        Massive reduction in bird deaths if you paint just one of the three rotors a different colour.

    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by RedGreen on Tuesday November 23, @11:45AM

      by RedGreen (888) on Tuesday November 23, @11:45AM (#1198856)

      Apparently some NIBMY moron got all offended and down voted me, sorry about your luck asshole have another to go at.

      --
      "I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @12:11PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @12:11PM (#1198862)

      If FERC is involved, existing rights-of-way will get a lot more transmission lines. Once you've got one on/near your property, you can expect more.

      Happened to me--rural property/retreat with an old/small natural gas pipeline. Now we have a 24" pipeline paralleling the old one. Along the way the pipeline took down about 10,000 trees along a quarter mile right-or-way (many were small but they paid for over 1000 of them).

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Tuesday November 23, @01:47PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 23, @01:47PM (#1198876) Journal

      getting it built the NIMBY morons will be out in force. They like all the modern conveniences but do not like the needed means of doing it when it comes near them.

      Cool story, bro, but it's just not that hard to build interconnects that go nowhere near populated areas or charismatic wilderness. There's the assertion in the story that "the benefits exceed the costs". But what's missing is that there's a lot of cost, and just not that much benefit. The article here reminds me of those vendor contractors who are paid to show you that you need their business products.

      If we really were looking at such a great ROI, then why aren't the businesses who built the present interconnects, building more such? Answer: they've figured out the costs and benefits on their own.

      Finally, just how much generation capacity is there really? That 1320 MW of connection is 24 hours with more uptime than even a well-run nuclear plant. 1000 MW of solar power, for example, gets chopped by crudely a factor of three or four (or more, if it's in cloudy regions) when it's averaged over a whole day.

      It strikes me that a better approach is to come up with demand that can be fired up when electric power is cheap - for example, cryptocurrency mining.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @05:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @05:55PM (#1198960)

      Tie it all together, so we can all go down together.

      I think I read something like that in "The Art Of War."

  • (Score: 2) by Dr Spin on Tuesday November 23, @10:47AM (5 children)

    by Dr Spin (5239) on Tuesday November 23, @10:47AM (#1198848)

    1,000 megawatts is one gigawatt.

    It is not rocket science (or maybe it is ???).

    --
    Warning: Opening your mouth may invalidate your brain!
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @11:25AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @11:25AM (#1198852)

      when doing that would make one of the figures 1.32GW, it doesn't really make it any clearer.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Freeman on Tuesday November 23, @04:01PM

      by Freeman (732) on Tuesday November 23, @04:01PM (#1198918) Journal

      From a marketing perspective 250,000 MW is 250,000 times better than 1 GW.

      https://awrestaurants.com/blog/aw-third-pound-burger-fractions [awrestaurants.com]

      Confused why A&W's burgers weren't able to compete even though the burgers were priced the same as their competitors, Taubuman brought in a market research firm.

      The firm eventually conducted a focus group to discover the truth: participants were concerned about the price of the burger. "Why should we pay the same amount for a third of a pound of meat as we do for a quarter-pound of meat?" they asked.

      It turns out the majority of participants incorrectly believed one-third of a pound was actually smaller than a quarter of a pound.

      Despite the confusion, Taubman took an important lesson from the experience: "Sometimes the messages we send to our customers through marketing and sales information are not as clear and compelling as we think they are."

      --
      Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
    • (Score: 2) by cmdrklarg on Tuesday November 23, @06:08PM (2 children)

      by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 23, @06:08PM (#1198968)

      We'll need 1.21 jiggawatts. Great Scott!

      --
      Dealing out the agony within
      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @09:50PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @09:50PM (#1199042)

        Nigga what?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @06:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @06:09AM (#1199170)

        Back when I first learned the prefixes "giga-" had a soft "G" and sounded like "jigga." Dr. Brown was probably in the same boat. I'm not exactly sure when it changed. Looking in my memory I remember it used to be a soft "g" for a long time and then suddenly it wasn't. It feels like it literally changed overnight in the late 80s or early 90s.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @12:32PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @12:32PM (#1198863)

    you know how (most) oil rich countries with vertical integration of their oil business, that is have physical oil, industry and machinary to make oil equipment, own distribution (pipes, tanks, ships) and a big PR machinary comprised of guns and politics, are rich and getting richer?
    well this could change, countries near the sunrich equator, who are oil addicts today, could turn into the new energy rich first world countries, whilst the now first world countries will have to continue to battle it out, who gets the branch from the forrest to burn as not to freeze to death.
    in the same sense, southern usa states, with more sun energy to harvest (or wind) might prosper...

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @07:34PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @07:34PM (#1198990)

      You can't spell "machinary" without China.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @03:12AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @03:12AM (#1199122)

        google translate thinks we gotta learn a new word: 机械
        (god damit i wish it where a simpler symbole, lol. i guess it's "a tree getting up-and-downed, ending up in a shaped tree (building) with " business inside" making the previous possible?

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 24, @04:58AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 24, @04:58AM (#1199154) Journal

      well this could change, countries near the sunrich equator, who are oil addicts today, could turn into the new energy rich first world countries, whilst the now first world countries will have to continue to battle it out, who gets the branch from the forrest to burn as not to freeze to death.

      Or we could all spontaneously evolve to become unicorns and bring cheery rainbow colors to a dull world.

      A modest abundance of a few resources is not what makes something "first world". Else there'd be a few countries in Africa that would be doing a lot better.

  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @12:36PM (12 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @12:36PM (#1198864)

    It would be ironic if these grids are interconnected (and they are connected already up with Canada and down to Mexico), and then we'll read again how the poor freedums of Texas grid collapsed again because local generation issues. But hey, at least don't have to be subject to these regulations from the Feds, right?

    It's kind of like living off the grid because you don't want the power company and regulators from imposing safety standards on your fancy wires. But I guess to each their own.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Thexalon on Tuesday November 23, @01:32PM (7 children)

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday November 23, @01:32PM (#1198875)

      The Texans who are behind the "we avoid federal regulations" policy are quite happy with that arrangement. A handful of politically-connected energy companies increase their profit margins by not dealing with winterization or backup systems or all those other efforts to keep things running smoothly, get to charge whatever they want, and fool most of their customers with variable pricing schemes that look cheaper but aren't the moment anything goes wrong. And the politicians who make sure this system remains in place get stock in those companies or other forms of totally-not-illegal kickbacks. And if anybody who really matters doesn't want to live through this sort of thing they can always just jet off to Cancun.

      My recommendation for Texans:
      1. If you can, invest in off-grid power for you and yours. Texas is an excellent place for windmills and solar arrays, and you can set those up in a way that keeps working while the grid is kaput.
      2. Have some conversations with your neighbors. Make a plan, in advance, about who is doing what in a crisis to ensure everybody is OK. Talk through what people have that is useful and can be shared, who has useful training (e.g. who has a background in medicine), who has special needs (e.g. elders who can't climb stairs), that sort of thing.

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Tuesday November 23, @02:54PM (6 children)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 23, @02:54PM (#1198886) Journal

        My recommendation for Texans:

        Problem: those two steps you describe sound . . . OMG!!! . . . like the beginning of some form of government! Just like how all human societies throughout history have worked together to govern themselves. But just don't use those evil words like 'govern' and 'government'.

        Make a plan, in advance, about who is doing what in a crisis to ensure everybody is OK.

        Communism and Socialism!!!

        --
        This Christmas season is the most likely to see Missile Tow instead of large artillery pieces being toed.
        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Thexalon on Tuesday November 23, @03:13PM (5 children)

          by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday November 23, @03:13PM (#1198895)

          They're the sort of thing a functional government would do, yes. The thing is, Texas plainly doesn't have one of those, so I'm encouraging ordinary Texans to be more responsible than their so-called leaders on the grounds that it will help keep them alive.

          --
          The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Wednesday November 24, @05:02AM (4 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 24, @05:02AM (#1199157) Journal
            I get it doesn't fit the narrative, but Texas does have a functioning government. And US federal level regulation had a big role in creating the situation in the first place.
            • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Wednesday November 24, @01:23PM (3 children)

              by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday November 24, @01:23PM (#1199197)

              That claim is easily disproven: Texas keeps a separate electric grid precisely because they don't want to follow US federal regulations throughout most of the state. Places that did follow US federal regulations didn't have the same problems Texas did. Ergo, what happened in Texas is very much Texas' problem.

              But even if it were true, and Texas was the finest state government that has ever existed, then I'm encouraging ordinary citizens in Texas to do the work that the US federal government is failing to do. Because no matter who is responsible, there's plainly a job that needs doing (keeping Texans alive when the power is out), and relying on a government to do it demonstrably doesn't work.

              --
              The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday November 24, @02:00PM (2 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 24, @02:00PM (#1199201) Journal

                That claim is easily disproven: Texas keeps a separate electric grid precisely because they don't want to follow US federal regulations throughout most of the state.

                You just proved my point. As you note above, it is federal regulation that incentivizes Texas to keep a separate grid.

                • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Saturday November 27, @12:30PM (1 child)

                  by Thexalon (636) on Saturday November 27, @12:30PM (#1199953)

                  So if I'm understanding your logic correctly: If a drunk driver slammed into a tree Thursday night and died, that's the fault of the legislators who passed laws against drunk driving, and maybe Mothers Against Drunk Driving who advocated for those laws, and definitely not the fault of the idiot who drank too much wine at Thanksgiving dinner and drove home rather than crashing on a couch.

                  --
                  The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday November 28, @01:11AM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday November 28, @01:11AM (#1200113) Journal

                    So if I'm understanding your logic correctly

                    No, you're not understanding my logic correctly.

                    If a drunk driver slammed into a tree Thursday night and died, that's the fault of the legislators who passed laws against drunk driving, and maybe Mothers Against Drunk Driving who advocated for those laws, and definitely not the fault of the idiot who drank too much wine at Thanksgiving dinner and drove home rather than crashing on a couch.

                    No, it's more like passing laws that someone can't store alcohol at home nor transport someone who is drunk, but you can still load up at the bar. Hence people get drunk and drive home, because otherwise how are they going to get home? You know, traditional bad law that has unintended consequences. I'm sure that Texas electricity providers would love to be connected better to the rest of the US's grid, but that preference is less than their preference that they not be subject to federal level regulations on such. I can't say I blame them.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday November 23, @02:57PM (3 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 23, @02:57PM (#1198888) Journal

      Texas got all of the energy independence and deregulation that it wanted. I hope they like it.

      Texas regulators approve higher gas bills to pay out companies’ winter storm-related profits [kut.org]

      Oil and gas regulators at the Railroad Commission of Texas cleared the way on Wednesday for $3.4 billion to be paid to natural gas companies by raising bills for ratepayers.

      The $3.4 billion is part of the debt that gas utilities unexpectedly owed suppliers after gas prices skyrocketed during February's winter storm and blackout. The cost may be included on Texans’ gas bills for up to the next 30 years.

      --
      This Christmas season is the most likely to see Missile Tow instead of large artillery pieces being toed.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by number11 on Tuesday November 23, @05:40PM (1 child)

        by number11 (1170) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 23, @05:40PM (#1198952)

        Texas regulators approve higher gas bills to pay out companies’ winter storm-related profits

        Unfortunately, not just Texas. People as far away as Minnesota are getting gouged to pay for the Texas fuckups.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Tuesday November 23, @05:52PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 23, @05:52PM (#1198958) Journal

          Why should Texans be the only ones to pay for Texas not having some commonsense regulations?

          --
          This Christmas season is the most likely to see Missile Tow instead of large artillery pieces being toed.
      • (Score: 2, Informative) by khallow on Wednesday November 24, @02:09PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 24, @02:09PM (#1199202) Journal
        Your title says

        Texas regulators approve higher gas bills to pay out companies’ winter storm-related profits

        Your quote says

        The $3.4 billion is part of the debt that gas utilities unexpectedly owed suppliers

        So the problem is rather that these companies incurred massive debts rather than profits. It sounds to me like there may be a California-style obligation where gas utilities are forced to buy natural gas at any price. Remove the obligation and we'd probably never see this particular problem again.

        As for the suppliers, I've never had problems with price gouging due to emergency scarcity rather than state enforced scarcity. This seems a legitimate incentive to encourage more such suppliers to produce during the next such ice storm or other grid failure.

        As for the 30 year time frame, should companies not account for long term risks like this? My take is that electricity prices should have a slight increase permanently to pay for this sort of grid risk. I'm not saying that electricity providers would appropriately use such money - Texas will have to regulate that, but there's a good reason for it.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @02:48PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @02:48PM (#1198884)

    The article seems focused on the cost/payback of building and owning a massive grid interconnect to transfer power from region to region.

    How is that different than the goal of making an electrical system more reliable or green? Seems like from aside from economics a grid tie plan should include a plan taking these into account. (Like factoring in lots of solar in the desert and wind in the wind belt.)

    If you currently choose to live in a region blessed with natural resources to support power generation and are friendly to the generation plants which do this, then you have cheaper power than folks who choose otherwise. There is definitely a transportation profit motive to move power from cheap regions to expensive regions, but there is also a quality or life benefit and cost in the two regions. Before saying that an economic analysis makes these grid ties a no-brainer, perhaps these should be considered?

    We currently have three separate regions which makes each region self reliant on their power choices. (Depending on if you are in Texas you might like or dislike this plan.) How about moving towards more self-reliant regions with a major grid tie for sharing and backup instead of moving towards optimizing profit of grid tie owners?

    • (Score: 0, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @04:30PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @04:30PM (#1198943)

      Don't you have faith in the invisible hand of the market place?

      • (Score: 0, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @10:01PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, @10:01PM (#1199049)

        When they can't answer the point you raise, they will mark you as troll.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @01:25AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @01:25AM (#1199103)

          When they can't answer understand the point you raise, they will mark you as troll.

          FTFY

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @12:02AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @12:02AM (#1199090)

        Trust the invisable hand? Good question.

        Well first it's not all that invisable. The market has only the profit script. So the direction is somewhat predictable.

        For a power system, there are low prob problems that cost a lot if they happen, but don't happen enought to get a high probability multiplier.
        This means that important stuff had little effect on the somewhat invisable hand guiding the market.
        Texas comes to mind. When it's really cold, you really want power, but an economically optimal system should not be expected to provide it.
        Perhaps this article has similar limitations?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @01:55AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @01:55AM (#1199112)

          So you think you are strong because you can survive the soft cushions. Well, we shall see. Biggles! Put him in the Comfy Chair!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @05:58PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 24, @05:58PM (#1199247)

    So, in a new environment where transporting electrical energy over longer distances now makes much more sense than it used to make, we needed a study to determine that "providing more ability to transport electrical energy across mostly isolated grids is a good idea"?

(1)