gridimage Northwestern University Institute for Sustainability and Energy

Mapping the Poetics of Electric Power

Researchers in Evanston, Illinois have developed a new way of visualizing the grid.

Researchers at Northwestern University have working away at using algorithms to help make complex system more resilient and manageable.

That included the electric grid.

The result is a stunning image that is as revelatory to power engineers as it is beautiful to the rest of us.

Takashi Nishikawa, Northwestern professor of physics and astronomy, and his associates have spun the map out of their efforts to enable grid operators in the east, west and Texas better synchronize an increasingly complex electric power network.

Northwestern University ISEN

Takashi Nishikawa   

His work and the map, are showcased in the inaugural issue of Empower magazine published by Northwestern’s Institute for Sustainability and Energy.

“Network visualization informs grid operators, as well as the energy industry and decision makers, of the scale, complexity, and interdependencies associated with the problem of power grid dynamics,” Nishikawa told Empower.

“Analysis of the influence pattern could be used to identify parts of the grid that are more likely to benefit from upgrades, such as the installation of additional transmission lines,” he said.

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