U.S. could finish the smart grid by 2040, says researcher


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take: Newton-Evans Research believes the U.S. has under-utilized capacity to modernize its grid. Based on years of surveying U.S.-based manufacturers, the firm says there is plenty of capacity, both in manufacturing and in systems integration. If the country was to tap into this capacity, "nationwide grid modernization efforts could be largely completed by 2040," including widespread energy storage.- By Jesse Berst


September 25, 2013. Ellicott City, Maryland - A new study titled American Manufacturing and Systems Integration Capabilities for Power Grid Modernization provides specific guidance from manufacturers and systems integration firms concerning readiness to serve.


Newton-Evans Research believes that American manufacturers can accommodate more rapid growth in U.S. grid modernization efforts than currently exists. Based on repeated surveys of key manufacturing companies active in grid modernization product development and firms involved with grid management and control systems integration activities, there is sufficient manufacturing and integration capacity to meet expected demand levels for almost all core components of the smart grid investment grant program identified by the U.S. Department of Energy as well as additional grid modernization components studied by Newton-Evans Research Company. The latter group includes the intelligent electronic devices required for various automation projects from transmission and distribution level applications down to smart infrastructure equipment.


Regarding the nation's ability to increase systems integration workloads and capabilities, there is sufficient integration expertise available to expand usage levels of the following: (1) dynamic transmission line rating systems; (2) synchrophasor-related monitoring systems used in the nation's high-voltage transmission networks; (3) operational control systems deployed for power generation management, transmission and distribution network operations and outage management; (4) information technology with which to intelligently manage deployments of grid modernization components, including telecommunications and analytical tools.


Newton-Evans' ongoing discussions and formal studies with suppliers, consultants and utilities have enabled the research firm to develop an independent update and prepare a fresh outlook for each of the DOE-identified smart grid components and a number of additional grid modernization components. Nationwide grid modernization efforts could be largely completed by 2040, including widespread deployment of a variety of scalable energy storage devices sited along the electric power delivery network and at customer premises, according to these observations and insights.