Top 5 Innovations in the Electric Power Industry

Electric Grids

Topping our list of innovations is the grid itself. When people say "the grid," they're referring to a network of electric power resources covering a certain geographic area. Some grids are attached to other grids to share resources in case of emergency. Most people who use an electric power source attach to an existing grid through power lines.

A grid is a massive electric infrastructure consisting of power lines, power stations, substations and transformers. Grids in the United States are controlled by a combination of public and private entities. The public entities are the state and federal bureaucracies that enforce laws regulating the industry. The private entities are utility companies that provide access to a grid and meter the power used by each home or business. These controlling forces determine the price a user must pay for each kilowatt hour of electricity on that grid.

Grid technology continues to expand even as people look for other energy sources to fill it. For example, smart grid technology is under development to improve efficiency in how power is monitored and metered for each customer. Also, grid storage at stations and transformers can also keep energy in reserve to help prevent blackouts during some of the grid's normal operational hiccups.