Climate-Change Caused Blackouts - The Role of Smart Grid Applications

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Written by Hao Zhu and Robert Hebner

The rising occurrence of extreme weather events is placing an increasing amount of operational challenges to the resiliency of the electricity sector. Thus far in the year of 2021, North America (NA) has experienced a variety of weather disasters including winter storms, wildfires, and hurricanes. These disasters have indicated a clear pattern of climate change and caused significant impact on the electricity delivery infrastructure. Various sizes and durations of wide-area emergency conditions and even power outages have happened in different regions of the NA power grid, due to physical asset failures or generation resource insufficiency.

Written by Soham Ghosh

In the last few years, a record number of severe weather events have considerably strained the electric grid and have caused some widespread blackouts, greatly endangering life and property. The integrity of the electrical grid is being challenged by climate-induced wildfires, massive unconventional winter freezes, and tropical hurricanes of ever-increasing frequency and ferocity. In this article, I present a summary of the formidable smart grid technologies such as adaptive reclosing of distribution feeders, distribution automation, microgrid systems, grid-interactive UPSes, rapidly deployable mobile control enclosures, and drone-based detection of wildfires at their onset using convolutional neural networks. These evolving grid technologies would allow us to harden the existing grid and take better control of the adverse effects of climate-change.

Written by Swochchhanda Shrestha, Rabab Haider, and Anuradha M. Annaswamy

Technological advancement has been central to the deployment of small-scale Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) into the US grid. Installed capacity of DERs in the US is expected to grow to 387GW by 2025 [1], with an estimated 13% of US homes equipped with solar by 2030 [2]. While such forecasts boast high DER penetration, improved efficiency, and lower technology costs, with the US rejoining the Paris Agreement and setting ambitious goals for a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 during April’s Leaders Summit on Climate [3], technological advancement alone cannot solve the climate crisis. Regulatory reform and policy support for resource deployment and integration are vital to achieving carbon neutrality. Even more, innovation in the space of electricity markets is a linchpin to achieving grid flexibility, maintaining grid reliability, and enhancing grid resiliency. The successful integration of small scale Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) into the grid requires, at minimum, adjustments to market design, and more radically, market redesign and reform. FERC Order 2222 is a quintessential example of the latter.

Written by Hossam A. Gabbar

Canada and worldwide are experiencing climate and environmental changes and economical stresses in addition to the evolvement of energy technologies. These factors motivated governments, municipalities, companies, and public to seek suitable energy transition strategies with effective deployment plans. There strategies are directed towards smart energy in smart cities [1].


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