NewEnergyNews: THAT WEST COAST BLACKOUT LAST YEAR

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  • THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, May 24:

  • Climate Change Goes To Court
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    Friday, May 04, 2012

    THAT WEST COAST BLACKOUT LAST YEAR

    What Caused Last Year's Massive West Coast Blackout?

    2 May 2012 (Renew Grid)

    ”A September 2011 blackout that left millions of customers in Southern California, Arizona and Baja California, Mexico, without power stemmed from inadequate planning and a lack of observability and awareness of system operating conditions on the day of the event, according to a joint staff report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC).

    “The report, which was issued nearly eight months after the inquiry was filed, recommends that transmission operators and balancing authorities improve how they plan for operations to account for the status of facilities outside their individual systems, as well as study the effect of external operations on their own systems and how their operation of transmission facilities under 100 kV can affect the reliability of the bulk-power system…”

    Reliability is the key concern for those who run the grid.

    ”At the time of the blackout, Arizona Public Service (APS) issued a press release saying that it believed the outage was caused by an employee who was working at a substation near the North Gila-Hassayampa 500 kV transmission line, located near Yuma, Ariz…The line loss at APS' substation itself did not cause the blackout, but it did initiate a sequence of events that led to the blackout, exposing grid operators' lack of adequate real-time situational awareness of conditions throughout the Western Interconnection, the report states.

    “More effective review and use of information would have helped operators avoid the cascading blackout…[H]ad operators reviewed and heeded their real-time contingency analysis results prior to the loss of the APS line, they could have taken corrective actions, such as dispatching additional generation or shedding load, to prevent a cascading outage…To avoid these types of events, the report recommends that bulk-power system operators improve their situational awareness through improved communication, data sharing and the use of real-time tools…”

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