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Linking Renewable Energy Resources Around the World

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Who would own the global electricity network?

Key Words

global electricity network, United States, existing grid, individuals, cooperatives, corporations, utilities, governments, geography, business, marketplace, finances


Most energy grids are owned by the entity, utility or national government that built the project.

In the United States, this normally means a public or private utility. There are both public and private utilities, plus municipal utilities in some cities.


There is usually a single electric grid within a service territory. In many nations, there is a single national utility, so for many nations, the network of lines and substations are owned by the state.

Under deregulation and privatization, there are sections of grids that are now being proposed, financed, and built by newly formed transmission companies and their investors. Yet, energy grids are managed in a cooperative way by system operators to minimize power costs, level load fluctuations, maintain reliability and provide back-up emergency.

The ownership of growing grid networks doesn't change as they expand interconnections. What's created is similar to a wide area computer network and the Internet — with many generation points and transmission pathways.

In essence, the grid becomes a common carrier for the good of all. In almost all cases, these different entities cooperate between each other in the exchange of electric power — a mutually beneficial relationship for all.

So, ownership of this interconnected grid is held by thousands of companies and the nation-states, who cooperate on the buying and selling of power over those same transmission lines that cross regional and political borders.

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