Dagle says that the 2003 blackout stemmed from a combination of bad vegetation management—the first three lines tripped after sagging into trees but were all within their load rating—and a series of monitoring and communications breakdowns. Vegetation requirements have since been standardized, and a new generation of sensors is providing grid operators with more information about what is happening across the grid at any given moment.
“Many more utilities have much more data,” Dagle says. “The next phase of our voyage is to make better use of that data.”
This article is reproduced with permission from the magazine Nature. The article was first published on August 25, 2013.