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In the 1880s, electric lighting systems were some of the first applications of electricity to modern American life. One of the biggest differences between the small electricity grid at Pearl Street and the electricity we use today is that Edison used direct current (DC), while today’s grids use alternating current (AC). In fact, Edison’s Pearl Street Station had no “transmission” component, as we use that term today.
A Serbian-American inventor named Nikola Tesla is the most famous of the electrical engineers who revolutionized the way we transmit electricity. In 1893, Westinghouse and Tesla saw an opportunity to prove that AC was the system of the future to an audience of millions at the Chicago World’s Fair. Later in 1893, the Niagara Falls Power Company awarded Westinghouse a contract to harness the power of Niagara Falls and to deliver it to Buffalo, New York—22 miles away—using his new AC technology.
Westinghouse’s new transformers allowed him to send power efficiently first to Buffalo, New York, and ultimately all the way to New York City as more generators came online at the station. Samuel Insull, a pioneering young businessman who had worked as Edison’s assistant and then business partner, had a breathtaking vision for electricity in the era of long-distance transmission.
Pushing the physical and economic limits of the high-voltage AC transmission system, Insull revolutionized the electricity industry by building larger generators and by transmitting power over longer distances. Insull’s focus on spreading electricity to new customers made him one of the great “democratizers” in American history. The characteristic feature of modern electricity transmission is the high-voltage power lines that stretch across the entire continent. The grid is actively monitored 24 hours a day by various grid operators, also called balancing authorities. Although transmission represents a small portion of the overall cost of electricity, building and expanding the electricity transmission infrastructure is expensive.
Because of these high capital and administrative costs, the transmission system exhibits what economists call “economies of scale.” That is, as the system gets larger, the cost per unit of electricity goes down, and it becomes increasingly difficult to build a competing system that is economical. By pricing transmission congestion, RTOs drive transmission investments to the parts of the grid that are constrained.
The future of the electricity transmission grid is generally bright, with investment now hitting its highest levels in decades. It’s that time of year when students all across the globe begin looking for science fair project ideas. One aspect of science fair that can be somewhat distressing is coming up with ideas for their project; especially an original one.
To help you in this quest I present to you my top 5 science fair Pinterest pinboards loaded with ideas and visuals. Among the many science fair ideas you will find listed below there are also plenty of picture of some excellent Pinterest science fair presentation display boards. Cumulative operating PV capacity stood at 13,395 MWdc, with 482,000 individual systems on-line as of the end of Q1 2014.
Growth was driven primarily by the utility solar market, which installed 873 MWdc in Q1 2014, up from 322 MWdc in Q1 2013.
Q1 2014 was the first time residential PV installations exceeded non-residential (commercial) installations nationally since 2002. Q1 2014 saw school, government, and nonprofit PV installations add more than 100 MWdc for the second straight quarter. We forecast that PV installations will reach 6.6 GWdc in 2014, up 39% over 2013 and nearly double the market size in 2012. Q1 2014 was the largest quarter ever for concentrating solar power due to the completion of the 392 MWac Ivanpah project and Genesis Solar project’s second 125 MWac phase. After converting the PV installations into alternating current (AC) and including CSP installations, we reach a total Q1 solar installed capacity of 1,571 MWac. In the distributed solar market, Q1 2014 was the first quarter in recent history in which residential PV installations exceeded commercial installations.
President Obama has repeatedly highlighted the statistic from this report series that a solar installation in the U.S. Nearly two-thirds of the capacity installed in the first quarter came from the utility market, which installed 873 MWdc. After a huge boom at the end of 2013, the residential market settled down in Q1, with installation levels up 38% over Q1 2013. The non-residential market was subdued in Q1 2014 after a strong fourth quarter, with installations down 12% year-over-year. Figure 2.4 reveals installation trends by non-residential customer segment across Arizona, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York. Massachusetts: Beginning in 2H 2014, the second state SREC program will take effect and offer higher SREC production factors for projects of 650 kWdc or less and with solar carports, with demand for the latter primarily being driven by large educational offtakers. New York: NYSERDA has restructured its next incentive program for non-residential PV projects above 200 kWdc by condensing the number of incentive payment schemes from two upfront rebates and a production-based incentive (PBI) for the first three years of system production to one upfront rebate and a PBI for the first two years of production. After a record-breaking 1.4 GWdc of utility PV installations came on-line in the final quarter of 2013, Q1 2014 once again benefited from the full or partial completion of several mega-scale solar PV projects.
Even more so than distributed solar, the utility PV market has seen significant installation growth concentrated in the final quarter of each year due to extended project development cycles and a rush to complete individual large-scale projects before year’s end to take advantage of the federal investment tax credit. One reason that we find it valuable to examine these seasonal trends is that they provide perspective on Q1 results. Starting this quarter, we have added bottom-up system cost modeling as a supplement to reported national system pricing.
The bottom-up cost methodology is based on tracked wholesale pricing of major solar components and data collected from major installers, with national average pricing supplemented by data collected from system installers and EPCs, along with utility and state programs. It is important to note that our new price reporting methodology represents an estimated price for a standard PV system within each market segment in the previous quarter.
According to national weighted average system prices by market segment, residential and utility system prices dropped quarter-over-quarter, while non-residential prices increased over Q4 2013.
Note: Detailed information about national system prices by market segment are available in the Full Report.
As stated previously, these figures are subject to a number of factors that render the analysis insufficient for determining the actual industry costs during the quarter reported.
As such, we have supplemented this reported data with more formal inquiries on system pricing with major PV system installers and investors. As a further step, we have built a bottom-up model of residential system costs that better elucidates component and categorical costs for PV systems built during the quarter. Note: Detailed component pricing, including inverters and mounting structures, is available in the Full Report.
Forecast details by state (30 states) and market segment through 2018 are available in the Full Report.
The final quarter of 2013 kicked off the first wave of mega-scale CSP projects to be completed over the next few years, and Q1 2014 built on that momentum with 517 MWac brought on-line. The next notable project slated for completion is SolarReserve’s 110 MWac Crescent Dunes, which entered the commissioning phase in February 2014. The Institute for Energy Research is a not-for-profit organization that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets. In 2008, Barack Obama explained his energy policy: “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.
Patriot Coal Company filed for bankruptcy on July 9, 2012 as coal prices have plummeted from reduced demand resulting from low natural gas prices and new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Shares of other coal companies (Alpha Natural Resources Inc, Arch Coal Inc and Peabody Energy Corp) also fell between 6 and 7 percent each. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) produces forecasts of energy supply and demand for the next 20 years using the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS)[1]. To meet electricity demand, the EIA represents existing generating plants, retires those that have come to the end of their economic life, and builds additional plants to meet projected demand from the residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors. To determine the most economic technology for the type of demand (base, intermediate, or peaking load) for which new capacity is needed, NEMS competes the technologies using their levelized costs as one measure of competitiveness. The first table below provides the average national levelized costs for the generating technologies represented in the AEO2013 reference case.[3] The values shown in the table do not include financial incentives such as state or federal tax credits, which impact the cost and the competitiveness of the technology. Biomass will also be converted into energy-providing biofuels, reminiscent of biogas, methane, methanol, and ethanol.


After electricity is generated at a power plant, it needs to be transmitted on high-voltage power lines before it can be distributed to our homes and businesses.
In those early systems—like Thomas Edison’s Pearl Street Station in Manhattan, which energized America’s first power grid—electric power stations served customers in a small network that covered only a few city blocks.
Early power grids were small by today’s standards, in part because of the physics of direct current networks. Copper wires buried underground carried power only a short distance from the station to the electric lamps of Edison’s customers. Working with entrepreneur George Westinghouse, Tesla and the early AC engineers made long-distance electricity transmission possible.[3] Instead of generating DC power, their solution was to generate a completely different kind of electric power—AC—and to use new transformers to increase and decrease the voltage. With the help of Tesla and other electricity innovators, Westinghouse Electric Corporation built a hydroelectric power station at Niagara that would again test AC technology. Year after year, his Chicago-based company brought the cost of electricity down while significantly increasing the number of people with access to it. By the end of the 1920s, his companies were serving more than four million customers in 32 states.[11] He would go on to network his transmission facilities with those of other companies, creating an interconnected web of electricity that powered cities and farms alike and laid the foundation for today’s power grid. These balancing authorities work to keep the electric grid in balance at all times by making sure that the supply of electricity meets demand in real time.
We don’t experience the “tea time pick-up” shown in the video above, but demand on grids in the U.S. As it leaves the power station, electric power is typically stepped up to anywhere from 69,000 to 765,000 volts.[19] Compare this to the electricity in your home, which comes in around 120 to 240 volts.
The transmission system’s size and complexity are significant barriers to entry for new companies, owing to the massive initial capital investment needed to transmit power.
As a result, economists consider electricity transmission a “natural monopoly,” where only one utility will supply a given area with just one grid. They also make wholesale markets more transparent and allow the conditions on the grid to be visualized with the help of a price contour map. Primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities alike will all have some component of a science project somewhere in the curriculum or syllabus. Creating these boards is sometimes the most challenging part of the fair as it will visually summarize your progress and engagement in the investigation by displaying photos of the experiment before, during and after the results come in. Much of the energy generated today is produced by large-scale, centralised power plants using fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas), hydropower or nuclear power, with energy being transmitted and distributed over long distances to consumers. This represents 74% of all new electricity generating capacity installed during the quarter. While this is partially due to the rough winter slowing construction activity in the commercial-heavy Northeast, it is also emblematic of an ongoing trend in rooftop solar; the residential market has been slowly, steadily gaining steam for years, while the non-residential market has shown more irregular growth. The downside risk in the residential market remains net energy metering and electricity rate structure reform. Collectively, these five states have accounted for 60% to 80% of the entire non-residential market since 2010. Expect this incentive reform to ease large-scale commercial developers’ access to financing by allowing them to monetize the upfront rebates with lower transaction costs and capture all PBI payments one year sooner than was previously allowed.
This included the commercial operation of the 266 MWdc Mount Signal Solar Farm, co-developed by 8minutenergy and Silver Ridge Power, which currently ranks as the fifth-largest PV project in operation to date in the U.S. But as Q1 2014’s impressive installation figure demonstrates, developers are in a full steam ahead approach to complete as many projects as possible ahead of the impending reduction of the federal ITC on January 1, 2017. On its own, the 1,330 MWdc installed in the first quarter of this year might appear somewhat weak – every market segment was down relative to Q4 2013. Our previous methodology used capacity-weighted average system pricing directly from utility and state incentive programs, but we have long felt that the data presented an out-of-date view of the market, as it often represented systems quoted in quarters well prior to the installation and connection date.
There are many factors that create variations in pricing between systems, including but not limited to special architectural or engineering needs, variations in permitting requirements, the valuation of solar benefits, and market maturity. Solar Market Insight report, capacity-weighted average system prices are reported based on state and utility incentive program data for the last time, while also introducing our new national system pricing data for Q1 2014. For further visibility into how the bottom-up methodology is applied, the following carve-out of the national residential system pricing section provides added context. Due to the data sources for this information, these costs are reflective of EPC pricing on standard systems for firms installing a total of more than 1 MWdc (~150 systems) per quarter.
These costs represent the bulk of soft costs and include substantial allocations for customer acquisition, distribution markups (often even medium-sized residential installers procure through distributors), and EPC margins.
This includes BrightSource Energy’s 392 MWac Ivanpah project and the second and final 125 MWac phase of NextEra’s Genesis solar project.
Solar Market Insight® is a quarterly publication of GTM Research and the Solar EnergyIndustries Association (SEIA)®.
There are several problems with President Obama’s desire to eliminate coal from our energy system.
According to Alpha Natural Resources Inc., it will stop mining at four Kentucky sites and idle two coal preparation plants because of the slowdown in the coal market with about 150 of its workers losing their jobs. These forecasts are updated annually and published in the Annual Energy Outlook (AEO).[2] All sectors of the energy system are represented in NEMS, including the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution system. As a result, EIA must represent a slate of technologies, their capital and operating costs, their availability and capacity factors, the financial structure and subsidies, the time to construct the plant, the utilization of the plant, and expected future cost changes, including fuel input for fossil and nuclear plants. Levelized costs represent the present value of the total cost of building and operating a generating plant over its financial life, converted to equal annual payments and amortized over expected annual generation from an assumed duty cycle.
These incentives, however, are incorporated in the evaluation of the technologies in NEMS based on current laws and regulations in effect at the time of the modeling exercise, as well as regional differences in the cost and performance of the technology, such as labor rates and availability of wind or sun resources. The 3-percentage point adjustment is similar to a $15 per ton carbon dioxide emissions fee when investing in a new coal plant without CCS technology. Nonetheless, the biofuel manufacturing process is costlier than the conventional fossil fuel processes. The waste wooden, tree branches and different scraps are gathered collectively in big trucks.
So that they don’t have the chic elements or Wind or Solar power or other forms of different power. The power crops require giant areas to retailer biomass and enormous areas to store the residue after processing. This page focuses on the middle stage—electricity transmission from power plants to local distribution grids. DC networks had to operate at low voltages in order to be safe, the downside being that transmitting low-voltage power is inefficient. Pearl Street was a huge leap forward—some call it “the beginning of modernity”—but grids powered by direct current only worked in densely populated areas like lower Manhattan.[2] It was nearly impossible for anyone to implement on a wider scale. That was the beauty of the AC breakthrough: it meant that electricity could be transformed from low to high voltage and back, which increased the efficiency of transmission and allowed Westinghouse’s early transmission lines to span longer distances. These were important engineering milestones, but what visitors adored was the sheer beauty of seeing so many lights ignited in one place, at one time.” The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson[5]. The team of engineers at Westinghouse’s company had to build custom transformers to increase the voltage of the power generated at Niagara from 2,200 to 11,000 volts before placing it on transmission lines. By 1911, Insull’s AC grids spanned entire states.[10] At the same time, Insull was influential in creating the regulatory framework for electric utilities, which is still generally intact. Currently, no technology exists that can store electricity cost-effectively on a large scale.[16] For that reason, balancing authorities rely on generators to respond to changes in demand at a moment’s notice.
The unique economic structure of transmission is one of the main justifications for government regulation in this industry. It’s a good thing to remember that, usually, science fair winners win on unique ideas. These results will also be documented and presented on this board in the form of data charts and result graphs. Photovoltaic (PV) installations reached 1,330 MWdc in Q1, up 79% over the same quarter in 2013.
The non-residential market should see stronger growth in the second quarter, once again overtaking residential installations, but our forecast now reflects our view that the residential market will be larger than the non-residential market on an annual basis as soon as 2016. Although early outcomes in these battlegrounds have been largely favorable for the solar market, we would be remiss to assume that the future will resemble the past. Despite some headwinds (which might better be described as strong breezes), we anticipate another year of significant growth.


If our forecast is accurate, the true rate in 2014 will be a completed solar installation every 2.4 minutes. California remains the bedrock of the residential market, with more than 55% of national installations coming from that state in Q1.
However, part of the weakness was due to the harsh winter, and our expectations remain high for the non-residential market this year. Unlike the residential market, which has increasingly started to operate independently of state incentives, non-residential installation trends remain primarily a function of state incentive availability and market design. But accounting for seasonal effects provides a more nuanced view of a market that should continue to expand significantly in 2014.
Installed prices came down in most major residential markets including California, Arizona, Massachusetts, and New York.
Other significant costs to the system include the PV module (20% of total pricing) and direct installation labor (13% of total pricing).
The fastest growth will come from the residential segment (61% year-over-year), followed by the non-residential segment (41%) and the utility segment (32%). First, there will be no carbon dioxide savings because the developing world needs to burn coal to grow their economies.
Due to the regional differences in the cost of labor, fuel, and other factors that affect the levelized generation cost, a second table is provided below that gives the range of levelized costs based on these differences.
This adjustment represents the implicit hurdle being added to greenhouse gas intensive projects to account for the possibility that they may need to purchase allowances or invest in other greenhouse gas emission-reducing projects that offset their emissions in the future.
Wooden, crops and crop waste, and wastes of plant, mineral, and animal matter comprise a lot of an space’s biomass. In many ways, electricity transmission is the unsung hero of our modern, electrified economy.
In the video below, the BBC explores the challenge of keeping the British National Grid grid in balance in the face of demand fluctuations. Below, we see a typical “load curve,” which is an illustration of the level of demand at different times of day. Also called locational marginal prices or LMPs, they reflect the marginal cost of electricity generation plus a transmission premium.
These units can be stand-alone or integrated into the electricity grid.Architecture of the future electricity systemsThe models for future architecture of electricity systems recognise the fundamental fact that with increased levels of distributed generation penetration, the distribution network can no longer be considered as a passive appendage to the transmission network - the entire system has to be designed and operated as an integrated unit. The utility PV market was responsible for the lion’s share of this growth, installing 873 MWdc in Q1 2014, up from 322 MWdc in Q1 2013. There are more than twenty states with some form of net energy metering legislation or regulation currently in process, and we will be monitoring each one closely. We forecast that 6.6 GWdc of PV will be installed this year, up 39% over 2013 and nearly double the market size in 2012. This reflects ongoing strength in the residential sector (despite an incremental quarterly decline) and continued malaise in the commercial market.
In particular, we expect a resumption of growth in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York and more consistent demand in California later in the year.
We have increased our forecasts this quarter, primarily in the residential segment (especially in California and New York), as well as the utility segment (thanks to greater pipeline visibility). According to Moody’s, coal power plant demand will decline by 100 million tons by 2020 because of EPA’s regulations. It is the task of grid operators to increase and decrease supply to follow this curve, second by second. We expect this segment to fuel growth throughout the year, and our forecast calls for nearly 3.8 gigawatts (GWdc) of utility PV to be connected to the grid by December 31. Aside from the 517 MWac of CSP already brought on-line, an additional 340 MWac of CSP should be completed by the end of the year, making 2014 the largest single year of CSP installations in history. However, part of the Q1 sluggishness in commercial installations was due to the harsh winter, and we anticipate that the non-residential market will rebound later in the year and ultimately exceed the residential market on an annual basis.
The residential market tends to grow incrementally throughout the year, whereas the non-residential and utility markets see slower growth early in the year and an even larger increase in Q4.
To put this in context, 3.8 GWdc is more utility solar capacity than was installed in the entire history of the market through 2012.
This market has always had massive potential but has suffered from capital constraints; however, there are a number of possible solutions being commercialized today.
Figure 2.6 shows average quarterly installations as a percentage of the annual total in each market segment over the past four years. This has largely been due to a significant increase in the price of Taiwanese cells (which are used in Chinese-assembled modules shipped to the U.S.
The heat is used to boil water in the boiler, and the energy in the steam is used to turn turbines and generators.
The pipeline of projects that were announced and contracted from 2010-2012 is coming to fruition now, and newer markets such as North Carolina are providing a valuable supplement to the incumbent states of California, Arizona, and Nevada. Micro-grids are typically characterised by multipurpose electrical power services to communities with populations ranging up to 500 households with overall energy demands ranging up to several thousand kWh per day and are connected via low voltage networks.
Yet in the future, that might not be the case, as new laws and regulations threaten to make the grid unstable.
These hybrid systems have the potential to provide reliable power supply to remote communities where connection to transmission supply is uneconomic. A number of demonstration projects have been undertaken in the Greek islands with this type of system.Active networks are envisaged as a possible evolution of the current passive distribution networks and may be technically and economically the best way to initially facilitate DG in a deregulated market.
Active networks have been specifically conjectured as facilitators for increased penetration of DG and are based on a recognition that new ICT technology and strategies can be used to actively manage the network.The model employs two novel concepts. That is the network is a highway system that provides (multiple) links between points of power supply and demand.
The active network has some analogies to telephone networks and requires active management of congestion unlike conventional passive systems that rely on Ohm’s law to determine power routing. With increased distribution of power input nodes due to DG, bi-directional energy flow is possible and new technologies are emerging that can enable direct routing of electricity.
New power electronics systems offer ways to control the routing of electricity and also provide flexible DG interfaces to the network. Flexible AC Transmission Systems (FACTS) and Custom Power Devices at lower voltages offer the potential manage routing of power supply in an active manner.Each node whether a gigawatt natural gas power station or a single solar photovoltaic panel needs to be controlled and the necessary number of combined control tasks multiply. Accurate information on the state of the network and coordination between local control centres is essential using state of the art ICT.Electricity transmission in the system is not dependent on a single route so failure due to a single component problem is reduced. However an inherent risk of interconnected networks is a domino effect - that is a system failure in one part of the network can quickly spread. Therefore the active network needs appropriate design standards, fast acting protection mechanisms and also automatic reconfiguration equipment to address potentially higher fault levels.The greatest change in the active network model is at the local control area level where each defined area has its own power control system managing the flow of power across its boundaries. The system would be ICT-based with management enabled by remote actuators controlling the system. If an area was isolated then the system would react by disconnecting enough load or generation to maintain the correct power balance. This could lead to considerable improvements in the reliability of the supply system as a whole. This model requires relatively little further investment in infrastructure, except to reinforce some areas of the network to provide increased interconnection and investment in automated switch gear.The internet model effectively takes the active network to the global scale but distributes control around the system. A conventional power station generates electricity in one location, using (usually) one type of generating technology and is owned by one legal entity. A virtual power station is a multi-fuel, multi-location and multi-owned power station.Both stations supply energy reliably at predetermined times. The power stations must be able to change their power output quickly and sell this capability as ancillary services to the grid operator.For a grid operator or energy trader, purchasing energy or ancillary services from a virtual power station is equivalent to purchasing from a conventional station. The concept of a virtual power station is not itself a new technology but a method of organising decentralised generation and storage in a way that maximises the value of the generated electricity to the utility.
Virtual power stations using DG, RES and energy storage have the potential to replace conventional power stations step by step until a sustainable energy mix has developed.




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