Grid under stress
Increasing stress on the grid due to a perfect storm of many factors, such as heatwaves, demand-side changing profile, DER, infrastructure which is not really supporting any component failure during peak periods (even a relay... which is supposed to be the protection system...)
Late Monday afternoon, Con Ed released a statement detailing the results of their investigation.
Con Edison has been conducting a thorough review of events that led to Saturday’s outage on the West Side of Manhattan. Our inspection of equipment and preliminary review of system data over the past 40 hours indicates that the relay protection system at our West 65th Street substation did not operate as designed. That system detects electrical faults and directs circuit breakers to isolate and de-energize those faults. The relay protection system is designed with redundancies to provide high levels of reliability. In this case, primary and backup relay systems did not isolate a faulted 13,000-volt distribution cable at West 64th Street and West End Avenue.
(...) We have restored our system to its normal state to continue providing our customers with the high level of reliability they expect and deserve. Our analysis of data and testing of the relay protection equipment is continuing, and will provide more insight into why the system, and its multiple redundancies, did not operate as designed. We will share additional information as it becomes available.
“Our system is ready to handle the heatwave, but we expect there will be outages,” Con Ed spokesperson Michael Clendenin said.
“If Con Ed doesn’t understand that in summer it gets warmer and people turn on their air conditions, then we have a bigger problem than I thought,” Governor Cuomo said to CBS.
Gov. Cuomo added the loss to businesses, restaurants and Broadway theaters is expected to be tens of millions of dollars. He says Con Ed will have to reimburse them. The utility could also face stiff fines.
A mix of solutions
It's time we put more Demand-side solutions in the field (a mix of different solutions). That will reduce the stress caused by the increasing demand, especially during peak periods. And it's just becoming more urgent since these 'risky' periods will just multiply themselves because of climate change. Reducing demand is the only sustainable way forward. Putting redundancy on relay has proven many times it's not a solution, it looks more like a small bandage on a big wound...