Transmission - Grains of insight into the grid

August 13, 2004

The way growing piles of sand behave -- with bursts of energy that result in large and small avalanches -- has served as a model for fusion researchers seeking insight into the way magnetically confined plasmas behave in fusion reactors. The same research into self-organizing systems has also lent itself to predicting the reaction of electric power grids to increasing power demand or system anomalies.

One year after the northeastern blackout drew attention to their work, Oak Ridge National Laboratory fusion researcher Ben Carreras, David Newman of the University of Alaska and Ian Dobson of Wisconsin University are continuing their power grid modeling research. Instead of being strictly an engineering challenge, the researchers now see the nation's electric power grid infrastructure driven by a complex combination of variables as diverse as rising demand, conflicting subsystems and societal pressures. Without a broader understanding of the interaction of those forces, a sandcastle power grid will be hard pressed to accommodate the rising tide of power demand.

Source: DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Explore further: Smart electrical systems pay off, research shows

Related Stories

Smart electrical systems pay off, research shows

October 18, 2016

The economic viability of an energy system that saves money for utilities and consumers by reducing demand peaks on the electrical supply grid has been demonstrated by a prototype energy lab at The University of Alabama in ...

Getting to a zero carbon future

October 17, 2016

Avoiding the worst consequences of climate change by reducing global carbon emissions to as close to zero as possible is one of humanity's most pressing challenges. The University of California San Diego has launched the ...

The flexible grid involves its users

September 27, 2016

The GreenCom project, funded in part by the European Commission and led on the technical side by Fraunhofer FIT, ended after 42 months, judged a resounding success. The project's main result is a Smart Energy Monitoring and ...

Recommended for you

Team finds Southern East Africa getting wetter, not dryer

October 21, 2016

The prevailing notion that the African continent has been getting progressively drier over time is being challenged by a new study that finds that drought has actually decreased over the past 1.3 million years and that the ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.