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Researchers model options for overdue electrical infrastructure upgrades

RIT Supplied Photo

Researchers in Rochester are comparing options to improve America’s aging electrical grid. 

These plans make room for increased demand and new energy sources.

The grid that delivers electricity across the country hasn’t been updated in decades.

Eric Hittinger, assistant professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, says the current system’s not up to dealing with modern technologies or demands for power.

"What we really need is a new grid that can handle all of these new technologies and smarter devices."

Hittinger is using a 300 thousand dollar National Science Foundation grant to generate computer models to design a future electrical grid that will take account of fluctuations in demand and increased use of renewable energy sources.

"It's not just about minimizing costs, but it's sort of about maximizing value to society in the long term."

Michelle Faust, MA, is a reporter/ producer whose work focuses strongly on issues related to health and health policy. She joined the WXXI newsroom in February 2014, and in short time became the lead producer on the Understanding the Affordable Care Act series. Michelle is a reporter with the health collaborative Side Effects and regularly contributes to The Innovation Trail. Working across media, she also produces packages for WXXI-TV’s weekly news magazine Need to Know.