NC State researchers offer ways to prevent massive power outages, record heat outages, and winter snowstorms

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – Millions who faced record heat in the Pacific Northwest have been urged to reduce electricity usage as hundreds have died from exposure to heat.

The worst of recent winters in Texas resulted in power outages and more than a hundred deaths.

“And we worry about these peak load times because that’s when our needs are highest and we need the most electricity. We want to make sure our electrical system is reliable because nobody wants the lights to go out, ”said Joe DeCarolis, professor at NC State. With climate change, there is an urgent need to find out how to do that.

DeCarolis teaches civil, civil and environmental engineering. He and his team of research colleagues are proving that the chances of keeping electricity running are significantly improved if you add solar energy to the mix of stored energy consisting of coal, gas, nuclear power and wind.

“The bottom line is that we see a greater reliability benefit when these technologies are used together on the same grid than if you just summarized their individual reliability,” said DeCarolis.

This is not to be confused with the solar panels you may have in your home. It is the utilities who generate solar power and at the same time would have to produce energy in a more traditional way.

“So instead of just concentrating on solar energy instead of just concentrating on the use of storage, it is actually worthwhile to think about how you use them together and, if you have these technologies together on the grid, think about coordinated operation that the maximum reliability of the system, “said DeCarolis.

“The symbiotic relationship between solar energy and energy storage in providing capacity values,” appears in Renewable Energy magazine. The research team includes DeCarolis, Jeremiah Johnson, Associate Professor of Civil, Civil, and Environmental Engineering at NC State, Daniel Sodano, a former graduate student at NC State, and Anderson Rodrigo de Queiroz, Assistant Professor of Economics at NC Central University.

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