AI Is Helping to Ensure the Security, Reliability of the U.S. Energy Infrastructure

With America’s need for power never being greater as it continues to grow—recent filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission show grid planners expect demand to grow nearly 5% in the next five years. To meet the energy needs of the future, energy companies need to bring new plants online while maintaining their existing infrastructure.

Argonne scientists are beginning to leverage the power of artificial intelligence to transform energy grid asset maintenance, helping U.S. power companies identify and address problems before they even occur.

According to Tech Xplore, Renewable energy sources—such as wind, solar and hydropower—will play an increasing role. The U.S. aims to generate 44% of its power from renewable resources in 2050, more than doubling the power currently generated by these new technologies.

Solar is expected to provide 22% of our power, with another 14% coming from wind. Integrating these new power sources into the grid will involve the installation of hundreds of millions of inverters, all of which will need to be maintained.

Meanwhile, parts of the existing grid are old and starting to fail. The average age of hydropower facilities in the U.S. is more than 70 years. Many are nearing the end of their operational lifespans and require extensive inspections and maintenance. The state of America’s power lines, delivery networks and gas pipelines is even more concerning. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave these systems a grade of C- in 2021.

Monitoring and maintaining the health of this diverse suite of energy assets of different ages is crucial to ensure the reliability and security of our electric grid. However, power companies may not know there is a problem with their equipment until something breaks.

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