Heat waves are reportedly among the deadliest types of weather emergency in the U.S., also said to be growing in frequency and intensity because of global temperature changes.
Nearly 100 million people across the U.S. have been facing heat warnings and advisories from the early season heatwave that started in June this year, breaking temperature records from California to Texas. In southern California, the current heat wave has reportedly helped to ignite or maintain three wildfires.
The heat wave has also been stated to have caused electricity use in Texas to reach an all-time high with the power demand going over 75 gigawatts, surpassing the previous record of 74.8 gigawatts in August 2019.
Another sector that has been in the news lately for leaning heavily on the national electric grid is cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is the most popular of these, and while it captivates the world with its ability to soar in value, and according to some promises to replace traditional currencies like the dollar, Bitcoin has arguably emerged as an energy vampire. Mining Bitcoin reportedly consumes a whopping 91 terawatt-hours of electricity annually, which is more than is used by Finland, a nation of about 5.5 million people.
Aging Grids; Burgeoning Power Needs?
All this brings to a head the much-discussed topic of the aging electric grid infrastructure in the U.S. Over 70 percent of the U.S. grid’s transmission lines and power transformers are 25 years old or older. Insufficient transmission capacity to facilitate the transfer of power across regions can also strain the system. Upgrading and expanding the current transmission system is expected by some experts to be the solution to enhance grid reliability and resilience and enable the cost-effective integration of clean energy.
In January this year, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched the Better Grid Initiative to address this need. The initiative lists among its objectives the development of new and upgraded high-capacity electric transmission lines aimed at making the U.S. power grid more resilient and increasing access to affordable and reliable clean energy.
Companies like American Electric Power Company Inc. AEP, PG&E Corp. PCG, Duke Energy Corp. DUK, NextEra Energy Inc. NEE and Xcel Energy Inc. XEL with a large footprint in electric transmission projects across the U.S. are gearing up to play their part in building the next-generation grid for the country.
Orbital Energy Group Inc. OEG, a Texas-based diversified infrastructure services group of companies believes it is also in the right place at the right time to capitalize on the potential surge in infrastructure projects from the ambitious Better Grid national initiative.
Orbital provides engineering, design, construction and maintenance services to customers in the electric power, telecommunications and renewable industries.
Through its group of companies — Front Line Power, Orbital Power and Eclipse Foundation Group — Orbital provides construction, maintenance and emergency response services for customers.
Front Line Power specializes in installing and maintaining electrical distribution systems and substation infrastructure throughout Texas.
Orbital Power supports electrical power and emergency response sectors across North America.
Eclipse Foundation Group is a turnkey deep foundation construction provider that works within the transmission, substation (drilled piers), industrial, communication towers and disaster restoration industries.
The company also has a foothold in the telecom industry through Orbital Telecom Services and its subsidiary Gibson Technical Services (GTS). Orbital Telecom is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and has nationwide locations equipped to support multi-vendor Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) technology that supports both wired and wireless networks.
Orbital says it has aligned its strategy towards renewables and is dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint through Orbital Solar Services which undertakes a wide variety of projects, including substations, solar farms and public utility projects.
With its interests in electric transmission, telecom and clean energy, Orbital believes it is well-positioned to play a significant role and reap the benefits of the wide range of projects that are being rolled out under the national grid enhancement initiative.
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