Heat wave may stress nation's power system

Aug 07, 2007

Increasing demands on an aging U.S. power infrastructure are likely to make headlines this week as temperatures in the Midwest and South approach 100 degrees. The nation’s economic growth since the 1950s has “outstripped the growth of the power system,” says Dr. Mariesa Crow, the Fred W. Finley Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla.

Crow, who conducts research on the behavior of large and complex power systems, says high demands for electricity during heat waves create the potential for widespread outages.

“The problem we have is trying to ship power from one place to another over long distances” explains Crow, who also directs UMR’s Energy Research and Development Center. “Most major power plants are located in remote areas away from large cities.”

Some solutions, according to Crow, are building smaller power stations closer to population centers in order to generate electricity during critical times or even to plan rotating blackouts to alleviate stress on the system as a whole.

One of Crow’s colleagues, Dr. Badrul Chowdhury, is investigating how wind farms, fuel cells and other distributed sources of energy could help stabilize the system by remaining online even when major power lines and generating plants are lost.

An additional advantage of these distributed energy sources is that they are environmentally cleaner and therefore provide an attractive option for use within city limits, says Chowdhury, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at UMR.

Source: University of Missouri-Rolla

Explore further: Sistine chapel dazzles after technological makeover

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The intoxication of power

Sep 18, 2013

Why are so many companies brought down by an excess of self-confidence, and rash decision-making by out-of-control egos at the top? A Cambridge conference aims to explain why power corrupts, and whether corporate ...

From recession's wake, education innovation blooms

Aug 04, 2013

On a warm spring evening, hundreds of investment bankers, venture capitalists and geeky tech entrepreneurs gathered near the pool of the Phoenician, a luxury resort outside Phoenix. The occasion? A high-profile ...

Japan opens Fukushima reactors to outside eyes

Nov 13, 2011

Japan took a group of journalists inside its crippled nuclear plant for the first time on Saturday, stepping up efforts to prove to the world it is on top of the disaster.

Europe looks into helicopter commuting

Jun 20, 2011

A European research program is studying the feasibility of a new kind of individual transport that avoids traffic jams by taking to the skies. Two laboratories at EPFL participate in this project.

For Mars rovers, a friendly rivalry

Jun 10, 2011

NASA's newest Mars rover - or a replica of it, anyway - sat expectantly at the bottom of a hill. After years in design and construction, the grandly named Mars Science Laboratory was ready to test its wheels ...

Recommended for you

China web users laud Apple boss for coming out

35 minutes ago

Apple chief Tim Cook's announcement of his homosexuality was the top topic on Chinese Internet forums Friday, with many users lauding him as a hero—and some joking about his declaration. ...

Sistine chapel dazzles after technological makeover

23 hours ago

High above the altar in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, the halo around Jesus Christ's head in Michelangelo's famous frescoes shines with a brighter glow, thanks to a revolutionary new lighting system.

Free urban data—what's it good for?

Oct 29, 2014

Cities around the world are increasingly making urban data freely available to the public. But is the content or structure of these vast data sets easy to access and of value? A new study of more than 9,000 ...

User comments : 0

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.