Our modern life depends on the vast electric grids to power everything from light bulbs to mass transit subways. Despite tremendous strides in technological innovation, the existing grid is largely built on an aging design. This design is essentially a centralized grid architecture based on large power generation plants in remote locations that are connected to the customer sites through a complex labyrinth of transmission and distribution (T&D) network. The coordination of electricity production in alternating current (AC) combined with delivery through the complex T&D network is managed by regional system operators or independent system operators (ISOs). The ISOs must balance not only the electricity production and consumption in real time, but also ensure the electricity produced remotely is transported to customer sites without running into congestions on the vast T&D network. While the current electric power grids are a marvel of engineering feats, this enormously complex centralized power grid design is showing its age. Today’s centralized power grids face significant challenges in providing safe, reliable, secure, and affordable energy services.
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