It’s been a summer of power outages as extreme weather has been wreaking havoc on the electrical grid. Violent thunderstorms, tornadoes, and record-high temperatures have all taken turns knocking out the power across the East, from Michigan and Wisconsin to Washington, D.C. The lights even went out in Times Square and Manhattan’s West Side due to a faulty protection system.
These outages are reminders of the need to continually innovate to ensure our power networks are as reliable and as resilient as possible, particularly in the face of increasingly volatile weather resulting from climate change and ever-rising demand for power. Ideally, all electricity distribution systems should be able to access power from multiple sources, rapidly pinpoint problems, isolate troubled circuits to prevent outages from spreading, and promptly restore power when it is lost.
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Gregg Edeson and Wei Du are utility reliability experts at PA Consulting