R&D Quick Hits


Facts, Figures, and Findings from EPRI Research, Reports, and Other Sources

EPRI Develops Better Methods for Calculating Reserves Grid operational changes that improve reliability typically increase costs. An EPRI study of Hawaii’s Oahu grid reveals that grid operators can have their cake and eat it too: More robust methods for quantifying the necessary capacity of can increase reliability and reduce costs. Increasingly, operators rely on reserves to accommodate intermittent renewable energy generation. The challenge is to determine the optimal reserve capacity needed based on anticipated conditions. Too much can be costly, and too little can make the system less reliable. Many of today’s methods for calculating reserve capacity are ...
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There is significant uncertainty in quantifying energy use by bitcoin mining, according to an EPRI Quick Insights paper. Bitcoin digital currency is released into circulation through “mining.” As with other digital currencies, bitcoin is backed by technology, which uses cryptography to verify transactions and add them to the public record. To do this, a “miner” must solve a complex mathematical puzzle, which requires powerful computer hardware and significant electricity consumption. Successful miners receive a financial reward. As the value of bitcoin has skyrocketed since late 2017, so has the number of miners—and the difficulty of the puzzles. Absent ...
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Significant changes in traditional electric company resource planning are needed to enable the industry’s ongoing transformation, according to an EPRI white paper. With growing renewable energy and distributed energy resources, multidirectional power flow, increasing customer choice and control, and other significant changes, electric companies’ long-term tools, methods, and processes may no longer be adequate for sustaining and updating a modern power system. According to the paper, planners face growing challenges related to grid modeling (such as understanding the reliability impacts of solar and wind), integrating forecasts (such as those for load, deployment of distributed resources, renewable energy production, ...
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Above photo: Prairie species planted on a right-of-way in the service territory of American Electric Power. Photo courtesy of Shana Byrd, The Dawes Arboretum. In field tests in Ohio, EPRI, American Electric Power (AEP), and the Dawes Arboretum demonstrated the establishment of biodiverse prairie habitat along a transmission right-of-way. To maintain reliability along power line corridors, utilities must plant and manage vegetation, control erosion, and trim or remove trees that encroach on grid equipment. Typically, corridors are dominated by non-native grasses and weedy species, which offer poor habitat for native wildlife and require regular tree removal, mowing, and ...
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Across the board, market indicators for electric vehicles (EV) are up sharply, according to EPRI’s quarterly market update. Key takeaways based on data from utilities, auto manufacturers, and research firm IHS:
  • U.S. EV sales in the fourth quarter of 2017 totaled 55,400—up from 30,600 in the fourth quarter of 2014.
  • 31 North American utilities are proposing EV charging projects worth $3.6 billion, including charging stations, supporting infrastructure, demonstrations, and customer education.
  • 60 EV models are available, up from 18 models in 2014; 108 models are expected by 2022 (see chart below).
  • The average range of battery ...
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