It takes energy to move energy. Whether renewable or non-renewable, energy is harvested in certain locations and must be distributed for use. Currently, pipelines, ships, trains, and trucks carry fossil fuels from point to point, while power lines carry electricity from the generation point to homes and businesses. Significant energy is expended transporting or pumping energy-containing materials, while the power grid suffers from electrical resistance and load unpredictability.
More efficient distribution networks will require new materials and advanced logistical systems. Large-scale utilization of distributed and intermittent renewable resources (e.g., solar, wind) will require intelligent, networked grids to deliver power efficiently over long distances. The introduction of new energy carriers may present both difficulties and new opportunities for energy distribution. Research can address these technical barriers and help shape a future energy distribution system aiding in energy use with much lower greenhouse gas emissions.