29 December 2022

Asking Chatbot about Power Distribution

After the power outage we just lived through galvanized my interest (pardon the pun), I asked the chatbot ChatGPT about power distribution technologies. Its answer was predictable, but it shows me that the solution, in particular with regard to local distribution, is actually pretty obvious. We are still using essentially 1930s power distribution technology in much of America. And, given the climate crisis and technological changes we must make, it's just not good enough. We need to invest in new distribution technology, including battery storage at the building-level (including private homes), and replacing overhead lines with hardened underground transmission. This isn't rocket science. But it requires willingness to spend the money, which is a policy issue. Good example of the short sighted stupidity of reflexive condemnation of government's role in making our infrastructure better. We can either do these things or we can fall hopelessly behind. Which is it gonna be? 

David Studhalter

ME:Are there new technologies on the horizon to improve power transmission, both across long distances, and to prevent weather related outages from failures in local power distribution?

CHATBOT: Yes, there are a number of new technologies that have the potential to improve power transmission and distribution, both across long distances and in local networks. Here are a few examples:

  1. High-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission: HVDC transmission allows electricity to be transmitted over long distances with minimal loss, making it an attractive option for transmitting power from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind farms.

  2. Superconducting cables: Superconducting cables have extremely low electrical resistance and can transmit large amounts of electricity with minimal loss. They are currently being developed for use in power transmission and distribution systems.

  3. Smart grids: Smart grids use advanced technologies such as sensors, smart meters, and control systems to improve the efficiency and reliability of the electric power system. They can also help to prevent power outages caused by weather or other disruptions.

  4. Underground power transmission: Underground power transmission involves burying power lines underground, which can help to prevent power outages caused by storms or other weather-related events. It is also more aesthetically pleasing than overhead transmission lines.

  5. Energy storage systems: Energy storage systems such as batteries and pumped hydro storage can store excess electricity generated by renewable energy sources and release it when needed, helping to improve the reliability and stability of the power grid.

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