WaPo: Could a smart grid have prevented the Super Bowl blackout?

There’s no evidence that it was a “grid” problem.

“Here’s the latest, fairly vague explanation from Entergy, the local utility: ‘a piece of equipment that is designed to monitor electrical load sensed an abnormality in the system. Once the issue was detected, the sensing equipment operated as designed and opened a breaker, causing power to be partially cut to the Superdome in order to isolate the issue’.”

Read more at the Washington Post.

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2 responses to “WaPo: Could a smart grid have prevented the Super Bowl blackout?

  1. The power company said it had to drop power into the Dome during the halftime show because the show generated its own power. That would suggest the problem occurred as the feed added power after halftime. Sort of like the problems of solar and wind when the source stops and fossil has to take over.

  2. The “smart grid” as envisioned by politicians, the left, and breathless reporters is dumb. They foggily envision a single, totally interconnected country-wide system that, due to total interconnection of all sources and uses of power, the total amount of generating capacity needed can be reduced, “green” sources can be a greater % of total generation, and line-losses can be reduced such that resources are conserved, and the planet is saved from a horrible death from CO2.

    However, as has been demonstrated each time there is a large-scale blackout, it is the interconnectivity of smaller grids into large ones that can aggravate the scope of and recovery time from the outage. As one area is overloaded, interconnectivity allows that area to draw from another area, which is in turn overloaded, which causes a cascading of overloading, blacking out multiple states. Eventually, either protection circuits disconnect the overloads (to protect the sources), or the sources fail.

    Reliability of power is vital to the economy and to modern (civilized) life. Reliability is diminished when generating capacity is constrained or is run near its limits, and when grids are massively interconnected/operated without overload protection. A “balanced approach” (as the left is so fond of saying when discussing other topics) of capacity, of types of capacity, and of the scope and controls on interconnectivity is required to optimally balance reliability against cost. Given different local power needs, weather, terrain, seasonalities, availability of resources, etc., one size/solution does not fit all.

    In the case of the Super Bowl blackout, the “grid” apparently did exactly what it was supposed to do – the fault was isolated by disconnecting it from the grid. Had it not, far worse than the interruption of a sporting event could have resulted.

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