by Kathy Chambers on Wed, July 17, 2013
On August 14, 2003, a software bug at a utility company brought New York City to its knees, and the resulting cascading effect ultimately forced the shutdown of more than 100 power plants (read more). Approximately 50 million people in 8 U.S. states and Canada experienced the worst blackout in North American history.
Research has been ongoing at the Department of Energy to improve our electrical grid’s reliability to ensure history is not repeated. Dr. William Watson, Physicist, OSTI staff, details in his latest white paper In the OSTI Collections: Keeping Power Grids Stable how DOE researchers are using data-based simulations, mathematically analyzing power grid behavior, improving energy storage, and working to understand the effects of transient power changes caused by devices connected to the grid so that we can avoid power grid instability and keep the lights on.