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Microgrid expansions // Transmission line innovations // Carbon capture delays

Welcome to Grid Brief! Here’s what we’re looking at today: the microgrid expansion, innovations in transmission line technology, and a carbon capture project gets delayed.

Microgrids are Expanding in the U.S.

Microgrids—small, controllable power systems that can be operated independently or with the local bulk transmission system—are seeing increasing interest in the U.S. The growth in the industry is being driven in part by concerns over grid reliability and resiliency.

In the past four years, microgrid capacity has grown by 11 percent and their market is projected to reach $10.6 billion by 2030. Recently, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) received $45 million from the Department of Energy to fund microgrid projects in seven rural areas in the U.S.

NRECA says that these projects will result in annual electricity savings of up to $400,000 in Decatur, Tennessee, and a 70% reduction in power outages in Cooke City, Montana.

Startup Aims to Bolster Grid with Superconducting Transmission Lines

Electric morning

With an estimated 10,000 renewable projects seeking grid connection in the U.S. alone, building new transmission capacity is essential. VEIR, a startup launched by MIT alumni Tim Heidel, believes that it has the answer with its superconducting cables.

VEIR’s technology is designed to carry 5-10 times the amount of power of conventional transmission lines with the same footprint and voltage level. The system’s innovative cooling technology also allows the company to build capacity without triggering onerous permitting requirements, according to a press release from VEIR.

VEIR is building its first large-scale pilot project in Woburn, Massachusetts, and expects to bring it online in 2026.

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Conversation Starters

  • Major carbon capture project delayed (Bismark Tribune)

    The operators of Project Tundra, the largest carbon capture project in the world and located in North Dakota, are delaying a final decision on construction citing regulatory uncertainty with the EPA’s recent power plant rule. The $2 billion project was expected to capture 4 million tons of CO2 annually from a nearby coal-fired power plant.

  • Biden administration unveils $375M for rural renewables (The Hill)

    Drawn mostly from the Inflation Reduction Act, $275 million will go toward communities in Alaska, Arizona, Kentucky and Nebraska. Two battery storage projects in Fairbanks, Alaska, and the Soldotna Substation in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula will receive $100 million each.

  • GE Vernova builds synchronous condensers in New York (Power Magazine)

    GE Vernova has been awarded a contract by National Grid to supply and construct synchronous condenser sites at two substations in upstate New York. The project, which includes installing three synchronous condenser machines and generator step-up transformers at each site, aims to enhance grid stability and reliability and accelerate clean energy deployment.

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