Building upon the research described in this publication, our team has identified several additional tasks that will further refine each area of research included in this document as we continue to study the challenges and benefits of the NAS:
- Additional technical feasibility studies encompassing more varied geographical regions will be conducted, supplementing the two completed case studies that analyze grid configurations in the Western US and off the Atlantic Coast.
- Determinations of the new system’s consumer price allocation structure must be made. Preliminarily, we have identified lucrative locations for possible initial line siting. To date, little definitive research has been done examining the issue of rate allocation in a single national market once initial lines are built, and the network is expanded. Similarly, we will examine which of these lucrative regions in the NAS system are most essential to national security.
- The potential for black starting (after an EMP or GMD event) to be more reliable or occur more rapidly with a EMP-GMD-cyber protected overlay system working in conjunction with a more outdated, non-EMP protected system. We will examine whether estimates of remaining critical infrastructure be made in current conditions so authorities can conduct precautionary planning.
- Load balancing in national centralized systems can impact electricity prices. Modelling of transmission load balancing utilizing the North American Supergrid as a theoretical test case would allow for quantitative determination of price changes with an integrated, renewables-based system.
- EMP threats are an imminent concern. While shielded HVDC cables afford some protection, it remains unclear if the transposition of DC lines (in both above and below ground configurations) would further cancel excess current in the event of an EMP or GMD event.
- Outreach to key players in relevant aspects of this initiative (manufacturers of major components, construction companies, regional governing bodies) must be strengthened to promote the eventual construction of a pilot project (originating from one of our case studies).