The electricity grid is a great example of scale.
Globally, the electric transmission grid length is about 5 million kilometers and the distribution grid length is close to a mind boggling 100 million kilometers (13 meters for every human being!). The US electricity grid spans about 320,000 circuit Kms in transmission and an awesome 8.8 million circuit Kms in distribution (low voltage). China’s electric grid length is more than those of all the developed economies’ combined (about 30% of global total!),
India is not far behind - our total transmission length is about 200,000 circuit kilometers, and the distribution grid length should be topping 5 million circuit kilometers.
While decarbonization of the power sector will need to have a strong emphasis on low carbon sources of electricity (solar, wind…), there needs to be an equivalent emphasis on the electric grid. Reimagining and revamping the grid, such a large infrastructure, is no easy task. Even developed countries such as the US are giving a strong, hard look at this massive beast to figure out where and how to start.
This is where the software and digital components play an important role. Unlike the massive physical and capital intensive efforts needed to rejig the grid’s hardware, digital additions can do with much less of this sweat and start providing significant benefits within a short period of time - precisely the kind of thing needed by utilities staring at the millions of kilometers of hardware.
Startups such as EdgeGrid, by using internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) are trying to solve the grid’s and the energy market’s problems at scale.
Team EAI wishes EdgeGrid the very best!