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"Path to Perfect Power" Slide Show

What is Perfect Power? Find out about the system of the future — and how it ensures reliability, efficiency, and security — here. Click the image below to begin the "Path to Perfect Power" Slide Show.

"Path to Perfect Power" Slide Show
"Path to Perfect Power" Slide Show
Currently, our electricity is generated at plants, like the coal-burning plants pictured above. Once generated, power is transmitted over lines that lose electricity every mile it travels on its way to homes and businesses.
Transmission lines bring power from the plants to area substations. Since the area substation infrastructure is not enclosed, it is vulnerable to damage from extreme storms and even sabotage, leading to power outages for consumers.
Area substations are connected to smaller site substations through above-ground lines. Given that the lines and site substations are also not enclosed and thus exposed to the weather, they are equally vulnerable to power outages.

M = Manual Switch
Faults can occur at substations or along power lines. Each time a fault occurs, multiple manual switches (marked by “M”) need to be reset by hand, which prolongs the length of the outage, often by days. Often located close to homes and businesses, the exposed site substations are unattractive, decreasing their customers’ property values.
So while a fault may initially cause an outage for just one customer . . .
. . . with our current system, the outage spreads . . .
. . . affecting communities  . . .
. . . and even entire regions, such as the blackout in 2003, which knocked out power to 50 million people in the Northeast.

America’s power system lacks the capability to either fix itself or isolate individual disturbances that could keep blackouts from spreading.
"Path to Perfect Power" Slide Show
The journey to Perfect Power begins with redundancy. Instead of homes and businesses that are plugged into a single area substation, with Perfect Power they will be connected to two or more sources of electricity.
The journey continues by connecting area substations underground to site substations, protecting the transmission lines from interference and damage.

Site substations are enclosed, which shields the infrastructure from inclement weather and is more aesthetically pleasing. Because it looks more like a building than a substation, this infrastructure will blend into its neighborhood surroundings.
For further redundancy, homes and businesses are connected to two site substations through a network of protected underground distribution lines. Manual switches are replaced by smart switches (green). Smart switch technology senses faults and is able to communicate with other switches automatically, eliminating the need to reset them and shortening power outages to minutes.
With Perfect Power, when a single fault occurs anywhere in the grid, smart switches react by isolating the fault — and the power stays on.

So whether the outage occurs here . . .
. . . or there . . .
. . . or there . . .
. . . or elsewhere, the Perfect Power System ensures that no single power disturbance or outage, regardless of location, will result in a loss of power.
In the unlikely event that a catastrophic fault occurs simultaneously at both area substations, additional technology can be integrated into the system to provide supplemental power during outages, such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and on-site generators (GEN).
The Perfect Power System also lets end-users purchase electricity offpeak, when it’s cheaper, and use less power overall, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions. By allowing customers to sell electricity back to the grid, on-site generation is another way Perfect Power saves customer’s money.
As Perfect Power systems are integrated into buildings, communities, universities and other locations around the country, the U.S. electric grid will be gradually transformed into a power system that supplies reliable, efficient, clean and secure electricity to meet the country’s growing demand.