• Wildfires & Calif.’s electric gridWhat the Wildfires Tell Us about the Shortcomings of California’s Electric Grid

    In addition to the vast destruction they have caused, the wildfires that have engulfed California in recent weeks have laid bare serious concerns about the state’s electric grid. UCLA’s expert Eric Fournier explains why the architecture of California’s grid isn’t well suited for such extreme conditions and what it would take to improve it.

  • Energy securityWhat’s Ailing California’s Electric System?

    By Cheryl A. Lafleur

    California made headlines for all the wrong reasons recently with widespread rolling power outages in the middle of a heat wave and a pandemic. These blackouts were not an accident—they were intentionally scheduled by the grid operator, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), due to a shortage of resources available to keep the lights on.

  • GridGrowing Numbers of Electric Vehicles Make Grid Planning Urgent

    Electric vehicles are coming—en masse. How can local utilities, grid planners and cities prepare? “While we don’t know exactly when the tipping point will happen, fleets of fast-charging vehicles are going to change how cities and utilities manage their electricity infrastructure” said one expert. “It’s not a question of if, but when.”

  • Energy securityUsing Wind Turbines to Defend the National Grid from Power Cuts

    A ‘smart’ system that controls the storage and release of energy from wind turbines will reduce the risk of power cuts and support the increase of wind energy use world-wide, say researchers. The system uses the variable speed of the rotors in wind turbine systems to more closely regulate the supply of power to the grid. This means that when electricity demand is high, stored kinetic energy in the turbines can be used intelligently to keep the grid stable. 

  • Energy securityMicroreactors for Resilient Power in Puerto Rico

    Puerto Rico is home to 3.2 million American citizens, with all the energy needs of a modern economy. Most of the territory’s power, however, is generated by facilities dating from the 1960s, which is nearly thirty years older on average than mainland U.S. power plants. To meet the island’s energy demand without the need for more fossil fuels, one promising candidate is the use of microreactors.

  • Critical infrastructureCybercriminals Are Now Targeting Critical Electricity Infrastructure

    By Henri van Soest

    Amid the constant stream of news on the coronavirus pandemic, one event passed relatively unnoticed. On the afternoon of May 14, a company named Elexon was hacked. You probably haven’t heard of it, but Elexon plays a key role in the UK’s electricity market, and though the attack did not affect the electricity supply itself, as an academic who researches cybersecurity in the electricity system, I am worried. This near miss reveals just how vulnerable our critical infrastructure is to such attacks – especially during a pandemic.

  • CybersecurityBolstering Cybersecurity for Systems Linking Solar Power to Grid

    DOE has awarded researchers $3.6 million to advance technologies that integrate solar power systems to the national power grid. “As U.S. energy policy shifts toward more diverse sources, particularly solar, the Energy Department understands the critical importance of protecting these systems and technologies,” said Alan Mantooth, U Arkansas Professor of electrical engineering and principal investigator for the project.

  • Energy securityUncertain Climate Future May Disrupt Energy Systems

    Extreme weather events – such as severe drought, storms, and heat waves – have been forecast to become more commonplace and are already starting to occur. What has been less studied is the impact on energy systems and how communities can avoid costly disruptions, such as partial or total blackouts.

  • Geoelectric hazardsGeoelectric Hazards to High-Voltage Power Grid

    Geomagnetic storms are caused by the dynamic action of the Sun and solar wind on the space environment surrounding the Earth. Magnetic disturbance during such a storm generates electric fields in the Earth’s crust and mantle. These electric fields can interfere with the operation of grounded electric power-grid systems. A new report analyzes geoelectric hazards for two-thirds of the contiguous U.S., spanning from the northeast to the west coast of the United States.

  • GridThe Modern Electric Grid Needs Smarter Modeling for Improving Resilience

    Today’s smart grid involves components that talk to each other, sending signals over communication networks to keep power flowing smoothly and efficiently. But what happens when the “conversation” goes quiet? The growing interdependence of power systems and communication networks can affect the response and recovery times when problems occur.

  • Climate challengesMore Accurate Climate Change Model Reveals Bleaker Outlook on Electricity, Water Use

    By 2030, global warming alone could push Chicago to generate 12 percent more electricity per person each month of the summer. If the city generated any less electricity, it would be risking a power shortage that may require drastic measures to avoid rolling blackouts, according to projections from a model designed by Purdue University researchers.

  • WildfiresPredicting Power Failures Which Could Lead to Wildfires

    Imagine a tool that can discover problems on utility lines before outages, before power failures spark deadly wildfires, or before fears of wildfires prompt massive, pre-emptive power outages such as those suffered recently by millions of Californians. Well, the tool exists. It is available today. And it works.

  • Grid Developing Digital Twin for Electricity Grid to Ease Transition to Renewables

    The rapid transition to renewable energy threatens to cause major problems to the very expensive electricity grid in the Netherlands. Researchers are now working on a “digital twin” to make it possible to study the grid effectively.

  • Power gridGrid Reliability under Climate Change

    Researchers are using a new modeling approach for infrastructure planning of a long-term electricity grid that considers future climate and water resource conditions.  Those conditions include reduced hydropower production as well as reduced availability of cooling water due to reduced streamflow and increased streamflow temperature.

  • Power gridDevice Helps Building “Negotiate” with Power Grid during Peak Demand

    Like its name suggests, Intelligent Load Control (ILC) technology is a smart tool for automatically managing electricity loads in buildings, particularly at times when the power grid needs help with meeting broader demand.