India's blackouts: Lessons from the front line

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Editor's note: Ever since the massive India blackouts, U.S. experts have been speculating about the causes in an attempt to extract lessons that could be applied here. Raj Prabhu of Mercom Capital took a different approach. He talked to the Indian engineers who were on the front line when the outage occurred. When I heard what he had done, I asked him to write this summary of his findings for Smart Grid News. -- Jesse Berst

 

By Raj Prabhu

 

The massive grid failure in India affected over 600 million people. With so many speculations as to the reasons for the failure, we decided to talk to engineers working at the load dispatch centers on the ground to get a firsthand understanding of what really happened.

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·        What happened: Two states allegedly overdrew power beyond their allocation while grid frequency was falling to dangerous levels. The "NEW" grid (which interconnects the Northern, Eastern, Northeastern and Western grids) tripped and cascaded to the Northern and Eastern grids. The Western grid managed to survive by rapidly reducing demand and managing its existing supply and islanding from the NEW grid.

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