MSL Managing Director David Breecker participated in the Santa Fe Institute’s invitational workshop, “Reinventing the Grid: Designing Resilient, Adaptive and Creative Power Structures” in April. Co-hosted by two visiting researchers on sabbatical at SFI, Seth Blumsack (Pennsylvania State University) and Paul Hines (University of Vermont), along with SFI internal faculty member Cris Moore, the workshop brought together a fascinatingly diverse set of experts from a range of relevant fields to consider the future of our power systems. These included industry and utility representatives, research scientists and engineers, policy and regulatory experts, ecologists, search algorithm designers, statistical physicists, and network theorists among others.

As the abstract states, “Electric power grids are complex infrastructures that operate across large swaths of space and time. A power grid’s planning and operation timescales can span up to twelve orders of magnitude: from milliseconds to decades. The largest networks, such as the Eastern US and European Interconnections, synchronize power plants across many thousands of kilometers. And this spatial integration is increasing: in many locations, the locus of control is moving from local electric utilities to regional entities. (more…)