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Articles on Electric grid

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A large-scale battery storage system in Long Beach, Calif., provides renewable electricity during peak demand periods. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

What is a virtual power plant? An energy expert explains

Some power plants don’t have massive smokestacks or cooling towers – or even a central site.
Room-temperature superconductors could make high-speed maglev trains more practical. Visual China Group via Getty Images

Room-temperature superconductors could revolutionize electronics – an electrical engineer explains the materials’ potential

Superconductors make highly efficient electronics, but the ultralow temperatures and ultrahigh pressures make them costly and difficult to use. Room-temperature superconductors promise to change that.
Snow on cattle drive sculptures in Dallas after a winter storm, Feb. 3, 2022. Emil Lippe/Getty Images

Two years after its historic deep freeze, Texas is increasingly vulnerable to cold snaps – and there are more solutions than just building power plants

Texas wasn’t prepared to keep the lights on during Winter Storm Uri, and it won’t be ready for future cold weather unless it starts thinking about energy demand as well as supply.
The Seli’š Ksanka Qlispe’ Dam provides enough electricity for about 147,000 homes in the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana. Martina Nolte via Wikimedia Commons

What is hydroelectric energy and how does it work?

How does flowing water make electricity? An engineer explains hydroelectric generation.
The control room of the California Independent System Operator, which manages the flow of electricity on the state’s power grid. Rolf Schulten/ullstein bild via Getty Images

What is curtailment? An electricity market expert explains

Sometimes wind and solar power produce more electricity than the local grid can handle. Better energy storage and transmission could move extra energy to where it’s needed instead of shutting it off.
The Department of Justice indicted six officers of Russia’s GRU military intelligence service in October 2020 on charges of hacking and deploying malware. Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

Russia could unleash disruptive cyberattacks against the US – but efforts to sow confusion and division are more likely

Russia probably has the means to attack US electrical grids and otherwise create havoc but probably won’t go that far. Instead, watch for disinformation aimed at undermining the US and NATO.
Aerial view of the 6-megawatt Stanton Solar Farm near Orlando, Fla. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Who pays and who benefits from a massive expansion of solar power?

President Biden’s proposed solar power expansion would cost $350 billion in federal support over the coming decade. An energy expert explains where that money would come from and who it would help.
Outages left downtown New Orleans in the dark after Hurricane Ida made landfall on Aug. 29, 2021. Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Can burying power lines protect storm-wracked electric grids? Not always

Hurricane Ida left the entire city of New Orleans in the dark and renewed discussion of burying power lines. But there’s no way to completely protect the grid, above ground or below.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Pine Tree Wind Farm and Solar Power Plant in Tehachapi, Calif., 115 miles from LA. Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The US needs a macrogrid to move electricity from areas that make it to areas that need it

The US electricity grid is actually five regional grids, and it’s hard to share power between them. A macrogrid could bridge the gaps, making electricity cheaper and more reliable.
Using LED lights in schools can drastically reduce the rate of electricity usage and costs. Shutterstock

Light in the darkness: how South African schools should cut their electricity costs

Replacing fluorescent lights with efficient LED alternatives is the single best way to cut schools’ electricity costs.

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