Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Power Outage Predictor

PostedSeptember 2, 2012

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Anchor Lede: What if electric companies could predict where power would go out before a hurricane strikes? A Baltimore engineer is working on just such a system.

Randy Atkins: The computer model being developed by Johns Hopkins engineer Seth Guikema and colleagues monitors a hurricane’s changing conditions as it approaches land and estimates its future impacts on specific power company grid areas to predict…

Seth Guikema: …how many outages total do we think that there are going to be and where are they going to be so that they can plan their crew requests.

Randy Atkins: The most advanced version processes about a hundred different input variables.

Seth Guikema: It uses a lot of information about land covers, soil moisture, pre-storm drought conditions because of stress on trees, soil types, and all sorts of different things.

Randy Atkins: But Guikema says the model can also use more general census data to make outage predictions along the entire U.S. coastline. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.