As the grid adds wind power, researchers must reengineer recovery from blackouts

Wind turbines spin over farm fields north of Ames, Iowa. Iowa State’s Hugo Villegas Pico is leading development of a control strategy that restores wind-dominant electric grids from blackouts. Credit: Christopher Gannon / Iowa State University

When the power grid goes down, there’s a step-by-step recovery process—a “blackstart” that up to now has depended on power from gas or hydro turbines spinning away inside a power plant.

It was all relatively easy to control. Start up the turbines, use them to spin generators and watch the electrons flow steadily and predictably to reenergize a grid and withstand short circuits and …

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