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Keeping Power Grids Functioning Thanks to Predictive Models

September 12, 2011

Scientists are working to keep America's power grids working so that the lights don't go out.

In a September 2011 report in the video series Discoveries & Breakthroughs Inside Science, Aranya Chakrabortty (North Carolina State University) explains how. By combining mathematics and high-resolution measurements, called synchrophasors, he and his group are devising real-time models that keep an eye on how the nation's large power systems are doing in good times and bad.

The models provide feedback about the effectiveness of grids across wide areas. Better still, they help power-system operators anticipate problems and devise responses.

“They are going to give us a way of monitoring not just local small areas in the power grid but also what happens globally in the entire power grid together,” said Chakrabortty. “The models can actually let you understand, or predict the behavior of the grid if similar catastrophes happen in the future,” he said.

Currently in use along the the West Coast of the United States, the models, according to Chakrabortty and colleagues, may soon be in use by the Eastern grid.

Source: Discoveries & Breakthroughs Inside Science

Start Date: 
Monday, September 12, 2011