Flip on the lights, zap the coffee, check the charge on the cell phone -- all part of an increasingly energized morning routine in millions of homes.Electricity demand is growing at about 1% a year, according to the U.S. Energy Department, and is likely to hold that pace despite a sluggish economy. That's because of demographic growth -- more people -- and the explosion in the numbers and types of electronic devices now considered essential.Meeting that demand focuses inevitably on power generation. But power is useless without the vast transmission networks that carry it to end-users. Those networks draw on 100-year-old technology and high-voltage lines, most of which were installed in the 1950s and '60s....MORE
New tech for old wires
Faced with the threat of a major crisis from handling increased loads with 100-year-old equipment, electric power providers are planning to spend $17 billion for new technology to shore up the nation's aging power grid.
• Buy less of our product? Industry pushes customers to conserve
Utility stocks may be down but are less beaten than others in this bear market. Several tech infrastructure firms are in a position to benefit as utilities get ready to spend $17 billion to fix the nation's aging electrical grid in the coming years.
|How the grid works|
From generating stations and the transmission process to delivery to customers, see how electricity is distributed throughout the grid.
The $60 million Holbrook Superconductor project in Long Island is the world's firsttransmission power cable moving waves of electricity from the grid to a substation that feeds U.S. homes.
Andy Tang, director of PG&E's Smart Grid, tells Stacey Delo about innovations planned for the power grid in the region and how new technology will affect the grid's improvement and stability.