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Prepare for a Gas-Powered Future

In a few years’ time, Texas will entirely rely on natural gas to meet its growing demand for electricity—a figure that increases by a rate of 0.9 percent every year. Robert Grattan of Fuel Fix gave this conclusion based on a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which also said that other states would soon adopt alternative fuel sources in the future. It is estimated that by 2016, natural gas will be more common than coal, which is currently the biggest source of electricity in the country:

The balance of power will shift even further through 2040 as gas-fired generation rises by 81 million megawatt hours and accounts for most of the growth in the Texas Reliability Entity — a federally approved electricity monitoring region that includes most of the Texas grid.

Other forms of power generation are expected to remain virtually flat through 2040, according to the report.

As the Texas grid expands, so will the need for reliable power monitoring systems in commercial and residential properties. After all, power plants of all shapes and sizes need accurate metering information so that they’ll know if every community they service is even receiving a sufficient supply of electricity. To that end, companies like Aim Dynamics can provide home and business owners with accurate and reliable power sensors, like a flexible AC current transformer (also known as a Rogowski coil).

Unlike other measuring devices, this transformer can be easily installed onto an existing power system without interference, making it a practical choice for electrical engineers. So-called ‘split-core’ transformers, in particular, are compact enough to be assembled around a buss bar without disconnecting it, which, normally, is the standard procedure when installing other power measuring devices. Given that more and more people will be tapping into the growing, gas-powered Texas grid soon, quick and easy installation of flexible current transformers will be vital if utility companies want to provide reliable services.

Of course, this is not to say that any type of current transformer can be used without worry. For starters, transformers meant for power measuring systems must be durable enough to withstand a variety of power currents. The same requirement holds true for protective current transformers, as they need to provide an adequate power output over a range of different fault conditions (i.e. from a full load to twice or thrice that number).

Such things won’t be much of an issue, at least until the Texas grid has finally expanded. While it’s good to hear that the state is preparing to meet its future power demands, efforts to provide gas power plants with accurate and reliable metering information should get underway as well.

(Source: Natural gas will dominate Texas electric growth, report says, Fuel Fix, August 15, 2014)