U.S. Power Grid Faces Challenges
The power grid in the U.S. is actually three large interconnected systems that move electricity around the country. Standards have been developed to ensure coordination for the linked operations, but challenges exist, including the cost and feasibility of building new transmission lines, integrating multiple fuel sources, and ensuring the grid’s overall security and reliability.
U.S. Electricity Generation by Fuel, All Sectors
*Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-term Energy Outlook (September 2012)
Importance of Securing Energy
Regardless of how they are powered, the world’s electrical grids are at risk.
“The nation's critical infrastructure, such as the electricity grid and financial sector, is vital to supporting the basics of life in America. Market forces are pushing infrastructure operators to put their infrastructure online, which enables them to remotely manage the infrastructure and increases their efficiency. However, when our infrastructure is online, it is also vulnerable to malicious cyber activities that could cripple essential services.“
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security, May 23, 2011
How CMU is Addressing the Challenge
Innovative solutions that help energy suppliers deliver energy more reliably, detect and fix problems faster, and cost less are essential.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon are developing solutions to enable variable power from wind and solar sources and automatically control load levels in order to help consumers decide when it is best to charge heavy equipment such as plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Learn about ongoing CMU research in these areas:
- CMU Researchers to Improve Energy Storage Technologies for U.S. Power Grid
- CMU Partners with Semiconductor Research Corporation for Smart Grid Research Center
- Team Developing New Materials and Processes to Improve Power Invertors for Industrial Transformers
- Team to Develop Tools to Monitor U.S. Power Grid
- CMU Developing Tools To Characterize Dispersants Used To Mitigate Oil Spills
- Research Examines Economic Feasibility of Using Direct Current Circuits to Power Lights in Commercial Buildings
- CMU Leads Team Developing New Smart Grid Models and Tools
- Lack of Data Underestimates Risks in U.S. Energy Supply Chain
- CMU Unveils New System for Monitoring Consumer Electricity Use