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In Pacific Northwest, engineers map a power grid in flux

RICHLAND, Wash. -- As stewards of the U.S. electrical system, grid operators have a well-deserved reputation for caution. With the mandate to provide reliable, affordable energy as their bottom line, they typically favor time-tested approaches over radical innovations and can be slow to embrace new technologies until they've stood up to lengthy scrutiny. But the past two decades have seen some rapid shifts in U.S. electrical systems, with power consumption plateauing even as new fleets of renewable power stations come online.


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