Unfortunately, the current power grid is a dinosaur tracing its roots back to early grid projects in the late 1800s. From that time on, the U.S. power grid grew in something of a haphazard, piecemeal fashion — but did it grow!
In part because of its pedigree, the reliability of our electrical grid is showing signs of degradation in the face of increasing demand. The North American power grid is interconnected in such a way that a small technical or human error can cause deadly cascading failures. Over the last 20 years, power outages have gone up more than 125%. One of the most complex systems ever built, it has proven increasingly prone to failing from causes ranging from hotter-than-usual weather to trees falling across power lines.
Clearly, we need an upgrade to the power grid utilizing the latest technology.
Congress has recognized this, and in 2007 passed an energy bill that addressed the need to modernize it. Called the “smart grid,” it would bring real intelligence to power distribution. Consider the early telephone networks, with teams of operators plugging on switchboards to make connections. Today, these networks are almost completely automated. Human error is mitigated. If there is a fault in the network, voice and data are automatically rerouted through other links. This is the kind of improvement smart grid technology would bring to the electrical distribution network.
With the push toward alternative energy technology, new transmission lines will also be needed. Solar power, for example makes the most sense in the sunny desert U.S. Southwest. Wind power, on the other hand, is most readily available in the windy Midwest. If the U.S. ever starts building nuclear reactors again, these will also likely be sited in thinly populated areas. In each of these cases, it makes sense to build the new lines using the latest and greatest technologies, rather than obsolete ones.
Of course, these kinds of infrastructure upgrades and installations will carry a hefty price tag. There are literally hundreds of billions of dollars to be made in the smart grid business, both in the U.S., and abroad. Investors in the best smart grid and alternative energy companies will make fortunes.
For example, in the 1980s, MIT researchers discovered a new class of high-temperature ceramic superconductors. Since superconducting materials present no resistance to electrical current, there are no power losses due to heat.
Scientists and engineers have known about superconducting materials since 1911. Unfortunately, these early superconducting materials needed to be cooled to near absolute zero with liquid helium in order to work. This made them prohibitively expensive for most applications. The new superconducting ceramics discovered in the 1980s, however, operate at much higher temperatures.
The engineering challenge was manufacturing the brittle ceramics in a way that would allow them to be drawn into wires. Fast forward 25 years and we now have the ability to manufacture high-temperature superconducting (HTS) wires and cabling and the timing could not be more perfect as the smart grid will require efficient, intelligent power transmission.
In addition, this superconducting cabling has 10 times the electricity-carrying capacity of conventional copper cabling. This reduces the footprint for new transmission lines such that a 1-meter underground right-of-way can contain enough capacity to transmit 20 gigawatts of electricity. Such a small footprint makes laying new transmission lines far cheaper than conventional high-voltage transmission lines suspended from towers. It is far less of an eyesore, as well.
There are several demonstration projects. For example, the Long Island Power Authority is now operating the world’s first HTS transmission lines. Another demonstration project is with South Korea’s LS Cable to commercialize 50 kilometers of superconducting transmission lines over the next five years.
The most exciting project is located in Clovis, N.M. It is called Tres Amigas, which means “three friends” in Spanish. Tres Amigas will tie together the three separate regional power systems that cover the US and much of Canada. These grids are known as the Western Interconnect, Eastern Interconnect and Texas Interconnect. To date, connections among the different grids have been limited because the timing of the alternating current has been out of synchronization. Since the superconducting transmission system uses direct current and special power conversion electronics, this problem will be resolved. Electricity will be shared nationally, coast to coast.
Not only will Tres Amigas be like the creation of the transcontinental railroad for electricity transmission, it will also be a game changer for renewable energy. As mentioned previously, the parts of the country with the greatest energy potential for solar and wind power are located a considerable distance from the more densely populated, energy-hungry areas. Tres Amigas, by virtue of its location, will provide a nexus for new renewable energy projects to feed into the national grid.
There are hundreds of thousands of miles of power transmission cabling supplying U.S. cities, and much of it will need upgrading or replacement in the years to come. Many miles of new cabling will need to be laid to connect renewable energy facilities to the grid. Of course, this scenario does not even touch on the all-new cities springing up all over Asia, all of which will need brand-new electrical grids to supply them.
The entire technology landscape that is enabling the smart power grid is a game changer for renewable energy. The smart power grid holds enormous promise and fantastic investment opportunities as a new class of high-temperature ceramic superconductors are being created.
I trust this post has provided some background and evidence that powerful efforts are underway with breakthrough technology for the smart power grid. These activities will soon provide alternative wealth creating opportunities and our economy will become significantly stronger.
I favor a quote from Steve Forbes. Forbes says that pursuing additional financial education and the resulting increase in our financial literacy (including the investment potential of breakthrough technology) will open our eyes to alternative wealth creating strategies and this will be the key to resolving our global financial crisis.
To gain the necessary financial education, it is best to obtain association with, access to, and membership in a wealth creation community. As a result, you will learn and have the knowledge to use alternative wealth creating strategies such as Bank on Yourself, debt reduction, and asset protection. You will be exposed to wealth acceleration investments in areas (discussed in this and previous blog posts) such as the smart power grid, nanotech being applied to biotech, biotech and nanotech converging with the semiconductor industry, electric cars, new access to space, 3D virtual technology, atomically precise manufacturing, nuclear power generation, commercial space ventures, Carrier Ethernet technologies, nanotech lithography, robotics, nano-based next-generation battery technology, precious metals, water rights, oil, natural gas, potash mines, food commodities, and gold mines. You will have the knowledge to consider investments in assets that are inherently useful like oil rigs, hydropower, or methanol plants; things that are hard to build, difficult to replace, and costly to substitute; definitely not financial stocks, definitely not retail stocks, definitely not commercial property.
Another benefit of membership in a wealth creation community is exposure to entrepreneurial leadership and business opportunities. Many of these leaders suggest that if you don’t focus on being a digital entrepreneur, being self-employed, or being a small business owner, it will be a very tough road in the months and years ahead; actually it will be an uphill battle. As a result, the innovative wealth creation communities provide education and training on B2B, and B2C, eCommerce enabling a new breed of professionals that are creating six figure second incomes.
It is wise to monitor breakthrough technology as there are truly exciting developments underway with the smart power grid and related business activities. I will continue to monitor developments and provide updates in future articles and at my blog.
Finally, I want to thank Ray Blanco and Patrick Cox of Agora Financial as they were the source of some of the materials about the technology advancements mentioned in this post.
In closing, be sure to Read More of my Posts at aspenIbiz BlackBox, my Internet Marketing blog; Obtain Some Tips About Being No 1 on Google at aspenIbiz My Go-To-Market Partners, my Affiliate website; Learn How to be Savvy with Your Money Like the Insiders at aspenIbiz The Conspiracy For Your Money Blog, and How to Live Longer at aspenIbiz My Life’s Advantage Today site.