“Penn State researchers have received funding from the National Science Foundation to develop a system that will assist the power industry in siting new transmission lines to accommodate a broad range of possible future evolutions of the power grid. . . .
“Making things even more difficult is the amount of time it takes for one high-voltage transmission line to be built in the United States. From start to finish, it typically takes nearly 10 years – more than nine years to get zoning approval from all of the jurisdictions that are affected and six months to string the line. During that time, factors such as population, new technology that requires power, and alternative power sources are all changing.
“Webster went on to explain that the power industry is already behind the times, noting that since the current system was established in the 1950s, it has essentially been patched and re-patched as new power sources and technologies emerge and as the population in the United States grows. That way of ‘tweaking a system,’ he says, is not sustainable over the next 100 years.’ . . .
“‘Our job here at Penn State is to move the state-of-the-art to the next level,’ said Webster. ‘If we are successful, we will have built a system that RTOs around the country can use to analyze all of the scenarios that could possibly happen over the next 50 to 100 years and that will affect the amount of power needed, and determine the best structure of a new power grid.'”