Electricity transmission is often taken for granted, but it is one of the pillars of advanced, industrialized economies. Fostering investment in electric transmission infrastructure is among the nation's highest energy priorities as a strong grid facilitates the development of alternative generation resources, is more resistant to storms, lowers electricity costs to consumers, promotes a liquid wholesale power market with minimal congestion and market power, improves reliability and energy security, and advances energy independence overall. Investments in the grid also create good, stateside jobs.

The term “smart grid” refers to the application of communication and information technology to the electric transmission and distribution system. As one part of this new network, in-home displays provide real-time information on energy usage and cost, allowing consumers to adjust their habits to save money and reduce peak load demand. In addition, grid monitoring and control devices are used by utilities to anticipate, detect, and resolve problems quickly, minimizing power disruptions and making the grid more reliable and secure. These devices also allow for greater integration of distributed energy (for example, from rooftop solar panels) and intermittent renewable energy sources. And a two-way flow of information and electricity will be necessary for wide scale use of plug-in electric vehicles, which will simultaneously increase demand on the grid and provide opportunities for distributed electricity storage in car batteries.

 

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