Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Keeping the lights on: New way to predict cascading power outages

Date:
December 12, 2013
Source:
University of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
A method of assessing the stability of large-scale power grids in real time could bring the world closer to its goal of producing and utilizing a smart grid. The algorithmic approach can predict future massive instabilities in the power grid and make power outages a thing of the past.

A method of assessing the stability of large-scale power grids in real time could bring the world closer to its goal of producing and utilizing a smart grid. The algorithmic approach, developed by UC Santa Barbara professor Igor Mezic along with Yoshihiko Susuki from Kyoto University, can predict future massive instabilities in the power grid and make power outages a thing of the past.

"If we can get these instabilities under control, then people won't have to worry about losing power," said Mezic, who teaches in UCSB's Department of Mechanical Engineering, "And we can put in more fluctuating sources, like solar and wind."

While development of more energy efficient machines and devices and the emergence of alternative forms of energy give us reason to be optimistic for a greener future, the promise of sustainable, reliable energy is only as good as the infrastructure that delivers it. Conventional power grids, the system that still distributes most of our electricity today, were built for the demands of almost a century ago. As the demand for energy steadily rises, not only will the supply become inadequate under today's technology, its distribution will become inefficient and wasteful.

"Each individual component does not know what the collective state of affairs is," said Mezic. Current methods rely on a steady, abundant supply, producing enough energy to flow through the grid at all times, regardless of demand, he explained. However, should part of a grid already operating at capacity fail -- say in times of disaster, attack or malfunction -- widespread blackouts all over the system can occur.

"Everybody shuts down," Mezic said. The big surges of power left unregulated by the malfunctioning component can either overload and burn out other parts of the grid, or cause them to shut down to avoid damage, he explained. The result is a massive power outage and subsequent economic and physical damage. The Northeast Blackout of 2003 was one such event, affecting several U.S. states and part of Canada, crippling transportation, communication and industry.

One alternative to solve the situation could be to build more power plants to produce the steady supply to feed the grid and have the capacity to handle unpredictable failures, fluctuations and shutdowns. It's a solution that's costly both for the environment and for the checkbook.

However, the method developed by Mezic and partners promises to prevent the cascade of blackouts and their subsequent effects by monitoring the entire grid for early signs of failure, in real time. Called the Koopman Mode Analysis (KMA), it is a dynamical approach based on a concept related to chaos theory, and is capable of monitoring seemingly innocuous fluctuations in measured physical power flow. Using data from existing monitoring methods, like Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Phasor Measurement Units (PMUs) KMA can track power fluctuations against the greater landscape of the grid and predict emerging events. The result is the ability to prevent and control large-scale blackouts and the damage they can cause.

Additionally, this approach can also lead to wider development of, demand for and use of renewable sources of energy, said Mezic. Because energy from systems like wind, water and sun are weather-dependent, they tend to fluctuate naturally, and this ability to respond to fluctuations can dispel what reservations utilities may have about relying on them to a greater degree.

Mezic's research is published in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers journal Transactions of Power Systems. Other collaborators in Koopman Mode Analysis research include researchers from Princeton University, Tsinghua University in China and the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yoshihiko Susuki, Igor Mezic. Nonlinear Koopman Modes and Power System Stability Assessment Without Models. IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, 2013; 1 DOI: 10.1109/TPWRS.2013.2287235

Cite This Page:

University of California - Santa Barbara. "Keeping the lights on: New way to predict cascading power outages." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212160339.htm>.
University of California - Santa Barbara. (2013, December 12). Keeping the lights on: New way to predict cascading power outages. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212160339.htm
University of California - Santa Barbara. "Keeping the lights on: New way to predict cascading power outages." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212160339.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) The deal will help build a massive battery factory that Tesla says will produce 500,000 lithium batteries by 2020. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 30, 2014) Fresh breath and clean teeth are great, but have you ever thought, "my toothpaste could be doing more". Well, it can! Lots of things! Howdini has 7 new uses for this household staple. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Cycle World (July 30, 2014) The Bonnier Motorcycle Group presents Smoked; a three part video series. In this episode the 2015 Ducati Diavel takes on the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Video provided by Cycle World
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins