Calif. Blackouts Might Have Been Avoided

A review of one of last year's power blackouts in California—a rotating power outage that occurred on June 14, 2000—concludes that it never had to happen. Optimal Technologies, Benicia, Calif., under contract with the California Energy Commission (CEC) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), was asked to undertake the analysis.

12/01/2001


A review of one of last year's power blackouts in California—a rotating power outage that occurred on June 14, 2000—concludes that it never had to happen.

Optimal Technologies, Benicia, Calif., under contract with the California Energy Commission (CEC) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), was asked to undertake the analysis. The study also involved the participation of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). Optimal is the developer of software and hardware to improve analysis, management, design and operation of electric power systems and complex networks.

One of the earliest of several in California last year, the outage resulted in the unscheduled cutoff of power to 97,029 Bay Area business and residential customers, with an estimated economic loss of $160 million.

The analysis shows there would have been no need for the blackouts on that day, if PG&E's system had been optimized using Optimal's software. The software would have increased available power, according to Optimal officials, without the need for new generation by optimizing the use of existing resources.

From Pure Power, Winter 2001.





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