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Stress-Testing a Hypothetical Global Grid

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After this year’s series of hurricanes, an electric grid–focused experiment carried out in late September by research laboratories in the United States and Europe may prove especially timely.

It’s no stretch to imagine a hurricane cutting electric power across a wide swath of the United States, upsetting grid stability. The researchers wondered: Would be possible to stabilize the grid in such a situation using a high voltage direct current (HVDC) line reaching between the U.S. and, say, Europe, allowing grid operators to tap into excess generating capacity?

More to the point of the late September test, the researchers wanted to learn whether multiple systems on different continents could work simultaneously to balance the grid after a simulated disruption?

The answer is yes, but with a few qualifications.