One word sums up all discussion of what the future grid will be — flexible.
There is a great deal of speculation about what the electric power grid will look like in the next 10 to 20 years. Hardly a week goes by without an announcement of a seminar, technical conference or webinar focused on visions of the future grid. This is good because the industry has already entered the transition. Now continuing the transition from today’s grid to the next generation is not going to be simple, as there are many issues that need to be dealt with, but the industry knows the future grid will be smart, dynamic, adaptive and driven by digital technologies.
In addition, the industry will have to address key elements that are critical when tinkering with the power system: advancing technology, changing economics, shifting regulations and the evolving sociological trends. These features are interconnected and changing any of them is disruptive, but modernizing the grid requires all four of them to be included for an evolution to occur. Fortunately, the founders of the power-delivery system, and those who followed them, designed a grid that is flexible and capable of change. It could be said that change is in the grid’s DNA.