• Wildfires Threaten California’s Power Grid

    Wildfires blazed through California, Arizona, and Oregon, driven by winds and a lack of humidity.. Death Valley in California’s Mohave Desert hit 128 degrees Fahrenheit. Utility officials in Oregon were keeping a weary eye on the Bootleg Fire which is raging out of control in southern Oregon and threatening Path 66 — a vital electric line corridor linking California with the Oregon power grid. The blaze in Oregon threatens the power lines which carry power to California.

  • Small Modular Reactors Competitive in Washington’s Clean Energy Future

    As the Clean Energy Transformation Act drives Washington state toward carbon-free electricity, a new energy landscape is taking shape. Alongside renewable energy sources, a new report finds small modular reactors are poised to play an integral role in the state’s emerging clean energy future.

  • Researchers Study Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Grid-Tied System in Texas

    Scientists are continuously looking for alternatives to fossil fuel-based power plants to diminish the adverse effects of fossil energy sources on the environment and build reliability. Researchers are studying the viability of solar photovoltaic (PV) grid-tied systems on rooftops to fill that need.

  • Analysis: The Texas Electric Grid and the Improvements that Didn’t Come

    After the deadly and expensive electrical outages during a winter freeze in February, Texas lawmakers passed major bills aiming to make such disasters less likely in the future. But there’s still a lot to do.

  • Improving the Safety of Next-Generation Reactors

    On 11 March 2011, in response to a massive earthquake, the nuclear reactors at Fukushima-Daiichi automatically shut down, as designed. The emergency systems, which would have helped maintain the necessary cooling of the core, were destroyed by the subsequent tsunami. Because the reactor could no longer cool itself, the core overheated, resulting in a severe nuclear meltdown. Since then, reactors have improved exponentially in terms of safety, sustainability and efficiency. Unlike the light-water reactors at Fukushima, which had liquid coolant and uranium fuel, the current generation of reactors has a variety of coolant options, including molten-salt mixtures, supercritical water and even gases like helium.

  • Renewable Energy Will Enhance Power Grid's Resilience

    A new study shows that integrating renewable energy into the American Electric Power System (AEPS) would enhance the grid’s resilience, meaning a highly resilient and decarbonized energy system is possible. The researchers’ analysis is based upon the incremental incorporation of architectural changes that would be required to integrate renewable energy into AEPS.

  • Improving Grid Reliability in the Face of Extreme Events

    The nation’s power grid remains vulnerable to disruption from extreme events including wildfires, severe storms, and cyberattacks. Variable generation resources and load volatility also present operational challenges to grid stability. To mitigate disruptions before they snowball, grid planners and operators must be able to see these events coming and understand their potential impacts on grid reliability.

  • U.S. Trying to Insulate Electrical Grid from Cyberattacks

    With America’s electrical infrastructure getting zapped daily by an unprecedented number of cyberattacks, the federal government is taking action to prevent a potentially crippling hack of the grid. A 100-day plan was announced Tuesday by the U.S. Energy Department to harden security systems for the country’s electrical infrastructure and increase the ability to detect and neutralize cyber threats.

  • Texas House Targets Power Grid Flaw that Cut Electricity to Natural Gas Facilities and Worsened February Blackouts

    The lower chamber gave initial approval Monday to a series of bill responding to this year’s catastrophic power outages during a deadly winter storm.

  • U.S. Power Sector is Halfway to Zero Carbon Emissions

    Concerns about climate change are driving a growing number of states, utilities, and corporations to set the goal of zeroing out power-sector carbon emissions. To date 17 states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico have adopted laws or executive orders to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity in the next couple of decades. Additionally, 46 U.S. utilities have pledged to go carbon free no later than 2050. Altogether, these goals cover about half of the U.S. population and economy.

  • The U.S. Needs a Macrogrid to Move Electricity from Areas that Make It to Areas that Need It

    Many kinds of extreme events can disrupt electricity service, including hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, extreme heat, extreme cold and extended droughts. Major disasters can leave thousands of people in the dark. During such events, unaffected regions may have power to spare. For example, during the February blackouts in Texas, utilities were generating electricity from hydropower in the Pacific Northwest, natural gas in the Northeast, wind on the northern Plains and solar power in the Southwest. Today it’s not possible to move electricity seamlessly from one end of the U.S. to the other.

  • Integration Can Prevent Failures in Large Power Grids

    The recent power outages in Texas brought attention to its power grid being separated from the rest of the country. While it is not immediately clear whether integration with other parts of the national grid would have completely eliminated the need for rolling outages, the state’s inability to import significant amounts of electricity was decisive in the blackout.

  • Almost 70% of ERCOT customers lost power during winter storm, study finds

    Texans in ERCOT’s service area who lost electricity were without power for an average of 42 hours, according to the study. They had been told to prepare for short-term, rolling outages.

  • Paperwork Failures Worsened Texas Blackouts, Sparking Mid-Storm Scramble to Restore Critical Fuel Supply

    Dozens of natural gas companies failed to do the paperwork that would keep their facilities powered during an emergency, so utilities cut their electricity at the very moment that power plants most needed fuel. The mid-storm scramble to fix the problem exposed a regulatory blind spot.

  • Reducing Risk and Avoiding Disaster – Creating Grid 2.0

    It’s hard to imagine a world without electricity. But as demand increases, so do the assaults to the system that delivers that energy — the power grid. Severe weather is a primary driver of power outages. Aging infrastructure is also a problem for the electric system.