What happens to a country -- when they find out their Smart Grid, is not so smart?
We are about to find out, during the next four years ...
by Edvard, electrical-engineering-portal.com -- Mar 5, 2012
An alternate means of transmitting electricity is to use high-voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. As the name implies, HVDC uses direct current to transmit power. [...]
Although synchronous HVAC transmission is normally preferred because of its flexibility, historically there have been a number of applications where HVDC technology has advantages:
1) The need to transmit large amounts of power (>500 mW) over very long distances ( >500 km [310 miles] ), where the large electrical angle across long HVAC transmission lines (due to their impedances) would result in an unstable system.
Examples of this application [HVDC transmission lines] are
the 1,800 mW Nelson River Project, where the transmission delivers the power to Winnipeg, Canada, approximately 930 km away;
the 3,000 mW system from the Three Gorges project to Shanghai in China, approximately 1,000 km distant;
and the 1,456 km long, 1,920 mW line from the Cabora Bassa project in Mozambique to Apollo, in South Africa.
In the United States the 3,100 mW Pacific HVDC Intertie (PDCI) connects the Pacific Northwest (Celilo Converter Station) with the Los Angeles area (Sylmar Converter Station) by a 1,361 km line.
There's not many of them -- but America does have them, these Alternative Methods of delivering Energy cheaply, over very long distances.
Here's our prime example, of this "very smart" technology:
Pacific DC Intertie -- Wikipedia
Intertie: an interconnection permitting passage of current between two or more electric utility systems.
The Pacific DC Intertie (also called Path 65) is an electric power transmission line that transmits electricity from the Pacific Northwest to the Los Angeles area using high voltage direct current (HVDC). The line capacity is 3,100 megawatts, which is enough to serve two to three million Los Angeles households and is 48.7% of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) electrical system's peak capacity.
The intertie originates near the Columbia River at the Celilo Converter Station on Bonneville Power Administration's grid outside The Dalles, Oregon and is connected exclusively to the Sylmar Converter Station north of Los Angeles, which is owned by five utility companies and managed by LADWP. The Intertie is capable of transmitting power in either direction, but power on the Intertie flows mostly from north to south.
Caption: The Pacific Intertie outside Benton, CA, near the CA/NV border. 500,000 Volts DC, 7,200 Amps, up to 3.6 Gigawatts (3,600 MW). Needs VERY long insulators.
in·ter·tie noun ˈin-tər-ˌtī pronounce it
Definition of INTERTIE
: an interconnection permitting passage of current between two or more electric utility systems
That's how we we will ultimately solve our Fossil Fuels addiction problem -- by "tying together" our local electric grid systems, with these high-capacity, low-loss electricity pipelines. These HVDC pipelines that can cheaply move the free, clean energy from where's it abundant (NW Hydro), to where it isn't (LA Metro).
The technology works. The plans to build these inter-tying powerlines -- not so much. Maybe we could ask China for a few pointers ... borrow a few of their engineering schematics, from their 3000 km Three Gorges project maybe?
Call it a "gesture towards world peace" ... and "a way to shape our common destinies" ... some such language should do the trick. ... If only we had a statesman up to the challenge.
The thing is -- when we go through the trouble to actually build one of these high-capacity, low-loss electricity pipelines. One of these HVDC pipelines that can cheaply move the free, clean energy from where's it abundant (Utah desert), to where it isn't (LA Metro).
The thing is -- we really should make sure the "supply side" of the inter-tie, is actually supplying clean, renewable energy! (not burnt Utah Coal -- that would be what they call in the future: very dumb!)
The second HVDC transmission to Los Angeles.
The Intermountain HVDC transmission system operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) brings power from a coal-fired station in Utah to the Los Angeles area. The original rated power was 1,600 MW at ±500 kV DC. Subsequently the link has been upgraded to 1,920 MW, and an additional upgrade to 2,400 MW has now been implemented.
It's not like America has a shortage of those -- clean, renewable energy sources ...
Interior Dept. approves solar, wind farms in West; pushes offshore wind in Atlantic Ocean
First Solar constructed this photovoltaic array in southern Nevada. This would be similar to the Desert Sunlight project. -- Basin & Range Watch -- Environmental Commons
It's just we have a shortage of alternate ways of delivering that cheap clean energy to the places where it's most needed (Big Cities).
And an apparent shortage of the vision too, that THIS re-routing of clean energy even needs to be done, it seems. If the recent past, is indeed prologue ... to our ever static energy future.
Those inter-ties HVDC lines won't build themselves, you know.
Sooner or later, something's got to give ... for the sake of our livable environment, let's PLAN to make it sooner.
[ U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg -- Popular Mechanics ]
Otherwise it's just more of the same ... SSDD. We know the drill.