USA: U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell has asked the National Academy of Sciences to assist Congress as it considers federal funding for grid modernization.
Worldwide the grid needs about USD 16.4 trillion in upgrades over the next 20 years, she said, with the International Energy Agency pegging about 90 % of the investment outside of the U.S.
In her letter she described a need for fast, flexible bulk electric storage, high voltage power electronics and advanced control methods. These technologies will become as fundamental to the grid as a power transformer or circuit breaker, she said.
Cantwell specifically seeks the academy’s help in identifying likely electric industry evolution, particularly on the distribution level, strategic investments likely to create a platform for a more efficient grid, meter technology and grid design issues and grid protection from cyber-attacks.