electric grid

The Exchange
5:40 am
Thu May 29, 2014

ISO New England: The Challenges Of Meeting Our Region’s Energy Needs

ISO New England's control room
Credit ISO-NE

The New England Independent System Operator (or ISO) has a seemingly simple job: to keep the lights on, and the power running.  But behind this goal are the many hurdles of operating the region’s electric grid. Through the peaks of summer air-conditioning and winter cold snaps, the system must remain always ready for spikes in demand.

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Environment
10:52 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Who Needs Batteries? Seacoast Firm Stores Energy With Air

SustainX’s compressor is built from the lower half of a MAN Diesel Turbo engine. SustainX’s Richard Brody says this type of engine powers 80% of the world’s marine fleet, and is known for reliability.
Credit Courtesy Photo / SustainX

Solar and wind power are intermittent, and if enough of them are powering the grid, some kind of storage will be necessary. And storage means batteries, right?

Not necessarily. In Seabrook New Hampshire, a start-up is doing it with compressed air.

It’s pretty easy to see how energy stored as compressed air works: When you let go of a full balloon, it flies all around the room because of the energy stored inside. So if you use electricity to run an air compressor, you basically just need to find a way to run that compressor backwards to get electricity again.

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Word of Mouth
10:04 am
Thu July 26, 2012

The Blackout Battle

Photo Credit Premshree Pillai, Via Flickr Creative Commons

America’s blackout boom—our national electric grid is badly in need of an upgrade, as power outages are seemingly becoming the norm, especially with the onset of extreme heat and increasingly inclement weather. This has many people wondering why the power industry seems to be lagging behind when it comes to innovations to keep the lights on, and how politics plays a part in stagnating investment into renewable energy and smarter grid infrastructure.

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