What Caused the Power Blackout to Spread So Widely and So Fast? Genscape's Unique Data Will Help Answer That Question
Louisville-Based Company's Real-Time Power Grid Data Shows How Blackout
'Hop Scotched' Unpredictably and Unexpectedly Throughout Northeast and Midwest
LOUISVILLE, Ky., Aug. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- When the lights went out all over the Northeast and Midwest on the afternoon of August 14, power companies, federal and state energy regulators, and news organizations all over the country immediately began scrambling to find out what happened. One person that many of them called was Sean O'Leary, CEO of Genscape, Inc. in Louisville, KY. Genscape has developed and operates the nation's only real-time tracking system to measure power flows throughout the U.S. electric grid. The company's data system was developed for use by the energy industry, and its data is proving valuable to power companies and government agencies as they seek the cause of the huge blackout. Genscape's data also is helping to present a clear picture of progress in restoration of electric supply in the affected areas. "Our data-gathering network shows that in the first minute -- between 4:09 and 4:10 p.m. Eastern time -- power plants hundreds of miles apart in three different states began tripping offline as the grid became unstable," says Mr. O'Leary. In the second minute the blackout spread much farther, "but it was not a simple domino-like failure moving one area to an adjacent geographic area. The failures hop-scotched all around the Northeast and Midwest regions and into Canada," he says. "Our unique set of data will help everyone involved find the answer to the most important question -- why the systems that were installed to prevent widespread blackouts didn't function as intended," Mr. O'Leary says. "We are working to increase the availability of our data to maximize the understanding of the source of the blackout event." Industry and government officials called Genscape because it has the only real-time nation-wide picture of the electric grid, Mr. O'Leary says. "Individual utility companies have good information on what happens within their own service area, but little, if any, data on neighboring utility operations. Only by piecing together the highly detailed operational records from each utility -- a process that will take days or weeks -- will the industry and regulators be able to piece together a complete picture," he says. "That is too long to wait to bring into focus what happened and to begin to understand what to do about it. Our existing monitoring, aggregation, analysis and communications capabilities provide a strong starting point for problem identification and remediation right now...as well as one of the tools to use in preventing and quickly reacting to similar situations in the future." Genscape gathers power flow data on a real-time basis at 275 of the most important power plants and transmission links on the U.S. power grid, providing "eyes" for system operators and government agencies on the status of the nation's electric system. "Our data gathering system will help the industry to understand the nature of this event and could, in the future, facilitate human intervention to prevent a future widespread power failure," Mr. O'Leary says. As power restoration efforts continue around the clock throughout the Northeast, Genscape is providing its clients, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, as well as news agencies, with regular updates on the status of the entire US electricity grid. Genscape is a privately-held company that was founded in 1999 in Louisville, Ky. by former energy traders Sean O'Leary and Sterling Lapinski to serve the unmet need for reliable, comprehensive supply-side information in the energy business. For more information about Genscape, visit http://www.genscape.com .
SOURCE Genscape, Inc.
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