Updated: May 4, 2021
Reliable access to electricity should not be a concern in the 21st century. But with an antiquated power system that hasn't been dramatically improved in decades, we find ourselves with a variety of immediate challenges. Two major challenges we see today are wildfires caused by faulted power lines and the need to integrate renewable energy into the existing power grid.
At Prescient, we have a clear vision of the next generation electric power grid: one that is reliable, resilient, and sustainable. The key to this vision is the introduction of innovative technologies and concepts that can be used to modernize the existing grid without the need to rebuild from the ground up. Furthermore, our vision also includes an entirely new approach to efficiency that assures that electric utilities will be able to recover the cost of building and maintaining the next generation electric power grid.
Through this blog, we will share technical advances and innovations which Prescient has created, including innovations in wildfire risk assessment and analysis, opportunities to modernize the power grid, and optimization of how sustainable energy is integrated with the grid. We will also address operational issues that impact the reliability and resiliency of the electric power grid. Our innovative techniques will identify and eliminate risks to communities that rely on the electric power grid, resulting in enhanced performance of the next generation power grid.
An Overview of Prescient’s Innovations
Prescient is pioneering innovations and exploring concepts that will enable electric utilities and their partners to meet consumer expectations in the coming decades, including:
Using an innovative wildfire risk assessment tool that accounts for important risk factors, such as dry vegetation ignition time and power line parameters.
Installing Solenoid Series Reactors (SSRx) to minimize the magnitude and duration of voltage dips, which is essential for preventing wide area power outages.
Reshaping the hardware of the electric power grid to prepare for renewables by:
Replacing substations with electric warehouses, which will include traditional substation components, energy storage and recovery facilities, and ultrafast microprocessor-based energy control systems.
Reconfiguring transmission lines as electric power ways, and distribution lines as electric service ways.
Changing customer billing from usage-based rates to demand-based rates.
Providing geomagnetic storm analysis, rooftop solar integration analysis, and much more.
Our goal is to chart a plan that prevents small incidents from becoming newsworthy events. By preparing for known, infrequent incidents before they occur, electric utilities can save money for both the company and their customers.
Preparing for the Next Generation Electric Power Grid
The electric power grid is a masterpiece of engineering excellence, but it needs to reflect the technology of the present, not of the 1960s. Power is seamlessly transferred to the Pacific Northwest to Southern California, yet we still aren’t properly preventing the wildfires caused by distribution line faults.
Our mandate, as power engineering professionals, is to assure that the reliability of the power grid is treated as a work in progress, not as a finished product. The grid needs to always be cutting edge.