Introduction

Power Generation, Transmission, and Use

Markets, Regulation, and Oversight

Impacts of Power Generation and Transmission

Looking Ahead

Appendices

CEIR Report Map

PPRP Home

Maryland Power Plants and the Environment (CEIR-18)

5.5 Technology and Innovation

As detailed in Chapter 2, historical methods of generation in Maryland have been mainly fossil fuel combustion-based, with some non-combustion methods, such as hydroelectric and nuclear generation. In recent years, however, there has been an emphasis within the State on the development of renewable energy sources (see Section 2.1.5 and Section 5.1).

Electricity in the United States is generally characterized by large centralized power stations (typically 300 MW to 3,000 MW) and is delivered to load centers and end-use customers by regional transmission and local distribution networks. Distributed generation (DG), however, provides an alternative to the traditional centralized power system. DG refers to small-scale energy generation (typically 1 kW to 10 MW) that is located close to the point of use. Home-based solar, wind, and geothermal installations are examples of DG that are gaining in popularity, as described in Section 2.1.3.

Technology advances and innovation lead to the increased use of efficient DG resources, including those fueled with renewable resources. Advances in transmission technologies and energy storage technologies, such as more efficient batteries and flywheels, will help improve the reliability of renewable energy sources. Finally, the smart grid concept, which embodies the idea of increasing the computerization of the electric grid, combined with the expectation of a growing fleet of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), are likely to have significant impacts on the electricity system.