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November 01, 2006


Thomas Pedersen

I'm so glad our powerlines in Denmark are under government control (wholly owned by the minister of energy) :-)

Powerline owners do not make more money because of surplus capacity. In fact, it is quite the opposite, and you risk ending up with a monopoly/Enron type situation when grid capacity is strained. Surplus capacity and the ensuing increased stability, however, has beneficial effects for society.

There has been a wave of privatization in the power sector in Denmark for the past ten years. But luckily our private-sector-friendly government realized that power transmission is too vital to rely on the "how can I get higher profit next quarter" business environment.

I was puzzled when visiting an electronics store (TVs, computers, etc.) in the US to see a market for power conditioners..? We don't have those in Denmark, because they are not necessary. Our power is always pristine quality, even with 20% wind power on average.

At the moment, Denmark has two grids that are not connected and out of sync. One is linked to Sweden and the other is linked to Germany. But now it has been decided to invest $100M on a new DC link between the two grids to reduce the average price of electricity. I believe the estimated annual savings will be $10-20M. It will also smoothe out the effect of wind fields moving across the country. Such an investment would hardly be made in the private sector today.

Strong power grids = good

Weak power grids = bad


Distributed renewable energy generation and storage coupled with conservation. Invest in that instead of huge grid upgrades.

That way smaller upgrades of transmission, for bringing in wind, wave, and solar power from where large installations generate, and to storage areas like big cities with millions of electric vehicles plugged into the grid acting as distributed storage.

Local and regional superconducting energy storage can also help reduce strain on the grid. The trillions estimated for upgrade and new buildout of the grid could be saved by investing 100s of billions over a 10 year period on renewable distributed power and smaller upgrades instead.

But it must be done before the grid really starts deteriorating past all help. 30 year old transformers. That doesn't sound too good.

Think of all the lightning that has already hit that equipment, and now global climate change is making storms much worse. Yikes. No wonder home power generating equipment is a hot item. Distributed generation and storage would cure it.

Harvey D.

USA masters all the cards required to update the power grid. Just put an end to this foolish Irak war NOW and use the savings (for the next 3 to 5 years) to actively promote the construction of a brand new fool proof power grid + 40 000 wind mills + 20 to 30 million V2G + 100 million solar panels etc.

This program would drastically reduce oil imports , GHGs, the trade deficit and create 10 million new jobs.

Where has the American innovation will gone to.


How interesting that Thomas Pederson's condescending comments come just two days before a massive blackout across Europe. Any more advice for us, Thomas?

Quentin D

There is a company called Composite Technology Corp that makes a new kind of power transmission line. The new Aluminum Composite power lines can transmit twice the electric current as standard lines and with a lot less signal (power loss). American Electric Power has been buying it up lately. They could double the transmission capacity of the grid just by upgrading to these new cables. There was an write up about it on here about a month ago.


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rather than maintaining the existing system. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), 70% of the transmission lines are 25 years or older, 70% of power transformers are 25 years or older and 60% of circuit breakers are more than 30 years old.

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