IE Questions: Super Grid! Spanning Continents In A Single Bound!

Somewhere in the world, the sun and wind are always shining and blowing, and people are always using electricity. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get renewable power from the windy and sunny places to the power hungry places? That was presumably the thinking behind a question posed by an Inside Energy audience member:

Would transmission losses be too high to sustain an international green power electrical grid? The short answer: Yes. An international power grid would sustain huge transmission losses and would therefore be too expensive to be feasible, right now. But in some situations, regional or continental grids do make financial sense and are already under development.

Electricity Losses State By State: Interactive

As part of our IE Questions project, Inside Energy investigated how much energy is lost as electricity travels from a power plant to the plug in your home. In the U.S., five to six percent of the energy in electricity is lost during transmission and distribution, but that varies widely state-to-state and year-to-year. See how your home state measures up.

Wyoming Wind Gridlock

Energy rich states produce billions of barrels of oil and gas but are also home to some of the best renewable resources in the country. Earlier this month, a massive wind farm got the green light from the state of Wyoming. If it gets federal approval, it could be come the biggest in the country. But for now, there is no way to transport the wind energy, and as yet, no confirmed buyers at the other end.

Rooftop Solar: The Next iPod?

The drop in the price of a residential-sized solar system suggests that it is possible that distributed solar will be as disruptive of the electrical transmission grid as the iPod was to the music industry.