Category: Policy

How a Downed Transmission Line Can Trigger a Cascading Power Failure

How a Downed Transmission Line Can Trigger a Cascading Power Failure

How a Downed Transmission Line Can Trigger a Cascading Power Failure

06/02/19

“How can a single failed transmission line cause a whole power grid to shutdown?”

The electricity grid is the backbone of modern human infrastructure. However, if a single transmission line becomes faulty and goes down, then power will need to be redistributed throughout the entire system accordingly. If no care is taken, then the extra surge of electricity can overwhelm other transmission lines and cause them to fail, repeating the process until a cascading power failure occurs such as in The Northeast Blackout of 2003. This is How a Downed Transmission Line Can Trigger a Cascading Power Failure.

The Northeast Blackout of 2003

The Northeast Blackout of 2003

The Northeast Blackout of 2003

06/01/19

“How did the worst blackout of the Northeastern United States unfold?”

On August 14th, 2003, a power line in Ohio under the dominion of the utility First Energy’s control struck a tree and faulted, causing power to redistribute throughout the rest of the network. The alarm system used by the company had a bug and did not not alert the authorities. This caused other lines to sag out and fault with trees, creating a cascading power failure by around 4:05 pm Eastern US time. This spread throughout the rest of the Northeastern grid, causing 50 million people in the U.S and Canada to lose power for up to two days. Not only did this result in 11 deaths and approximately 6 billion USD in damage. The Northeast Blackout of 2003 was one of the costliest to date and resulted in the U.S setting much stricter standards for reliability and maintenance of power lines.

Image credit cdn.newsday.com

Why Informing Citizens of the Risk of Power Outages Is Important for Making Public Resilience Decisions

Why Informing Citizens of the Risk of Power Outages Is Important for Making Public Resilience Decisions

Why Informing Citizens of the Risk of Power Outages Is Important for Making Public Resilience Decisions

05/31/19

“What is the importance of informing people about the risk of power outages?”

Power outages occur from time to time. And when they do, it could cause great harm to existing infrastructure, both public and private. HVAC systems will shut down, food in fridges will rot, and pipes might freeze over. That being said, there are a large amount of citizens who are not aware of the totality of the risks. If they become informed, then they can make better decisions and help contribute to making better public decisions about infrastructure. This is Why Informing Citizens of the Risk of Power Outages Is Important for Making Public Resilience Decisions.   

How an Institute’s Culture is the Biggest Effect on Resilience

How an Institute’s Culture is the Biggest Effect on Resilience

How an Institute’s Culture is the Biggest Effect on Resilience

05/30/19

“Why does bad institutional culture harm resilience more than engineering or human errors?”

When infrastructure failures occur, the engineering or human failures are often the ones that are the most analyzed. However, new research has come out supporting a very different idea. It is the governing institutions culture that has the greatest impact. To illustrate, the Northern Californian utility Pacific Gas and Electricity had long neglected infrastructure repairs/upgrades and foliage trimming, ultimately leading to the great Camp Fire of November 2018. This is How an Institute’s Culture is the Biggest Effect on Resilience.

Infrastructure System Interdependence

Infrastructure System Interdependence

Infrastructure System Interdependence

05/29/19

“How do multiple infrastructure systems affect one another?”

Critical Infrastructure Systems are woven into the fabric of our everyday life. Whether it be the electricity we use to power our computers or the water pumps that we drink from, there is some resource behind it. And in the modern world, all of these systems seem to be interconnected, such as electricity for water-pumps or water for agriculture. As a consequence, if one of these systems go haywire then there will be consequences across all infrastructure systems. This coupling is known as Infrastructure System Interdependence and is used by policy-makers and engineers to analyze resilience risk.

How Better Fault Documentation Will Improve Climate Change Resilience

How Better Fault Documentation Will Improve Climate Change Resilience

How Better Fault Documentation Will Improve Climate Change Resilience

05/28/19

“How can simply documenting failures lead to better resilience?”

With the global increase in temperatures there will be an increase in infrastructure faults. As a result, we will need to learn from these mistakes to make sure we can survive the next blow. By having better documentation of these mistakes, we will be able to make better improvements, therefore improving resilience. This is How Better Fault Documentation Will Improve Climate Change Resilience.