When Texas went dark and cold for days last month, the public learned an important lesson about the need for reliable electricity and a resilient electric power grid.

On March 25, three power grid experts, including Regents Professor Anjan Bose, will present a summary of a National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) report on the future of electric power in the U.S. They were part of a group of 15 researchers who spent the past two years putting together the report on the challenges in maintaining a reliable, secure, and resilient power grid. The webinar is set for 9 – 10 a.m. and will be available on Microsoft TEAMS.

Bose, WSU Distinguished Professor of Electric Power Engineering, has been involved for more than 40 years in industry and academia as an engineer, educator, and administrator and is site director of the Power System Engineering Research Center (PSERC). In addition to Bose, speakers will include Jeff Dagle, chief electrical engineer for electricity infrastructure resilience at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and a WSU alumnus, and Anuradha M. Annaswamy, director of the Active-Adaptive Control Laboratory and a senior research scientist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT; both were also members of the committee that authored the NASEM report.

Bose is a member of WSU’s Energy Systems Innovation Center, the WSU/PNNL Advanced Grid Institute, and the US-India Collaborative for Smart Distribution System with Storage (UI-ASSIST) project, a five-year, joint U.S.-India project to advance the development of the power grid. Dagle is a member of the Advanced Grid Institute and Annaswamy is a member of UI-ASSIST.

Anjan Bose

WSU conducts research on resiliency, especially in the areas of measuring resiliency, using microgrids, and developing countermeasures for cyber-attacks on the power grid. WSU also is studying the impact of decarbonizing electricity generation on the reliability and resiliency of the grid, especially in introducing smart-grid technologies in the distribution system.

The NASEM, which was congressionally mandated, provides recommendations for improving the power grid, so that it can provide safe, reliable, and clean electricity in an equitable way, especially as the U.S. works to decarbonize its energy supply.

Ever since Hurricane Sandy that blacked out lower Manhattan, researchers have been focused on increasing the resiliency of the power grid as these extreme weather events are expected to increase with climate change, Bose said.

The recent cold weather snap in Texas was particularly severe and interrupted power supply to more than 4.5 million customers, some for days.

“Texas was particularly impacted because the cold snap impaired gas generation, which supplies most of the electricity there, as well as some wind generation, while at the same time increased electric heating demand,” he said. “Such a weather event was so abnormal that they did not have contingency plans for handling it although a lesser cold spell a decade ago had been a warning and the generating plants were advised to winterize like the plants in the north.”

This webinar, part of the UI-ASSIST monthly webinar series, is co-sponsored by the PNNL/WSU Advanced Grid Institute and WSU Energy Systems Innovation Center. No registration is needed to attend.

For more information, please contact Brenna Peever, brenna.peever@wsu.edu.