Every second, the amount of electricity used in the region must match the amount of electricity that is generated. That's harder than you might think!
If the balance of energy use and energy production tips one way or the other, the grid can destabilize causing a blackout. For example, if the wind blows much harder than was forecast, people who manage the electrical grid must make adjustments for the extra incoming wind power. In the same way, if demand suddenly spikes — e.g., everyone turns on home air conditioners on a hot evening, the grid operators must either turn on short-term, expensive power or find ways to reduce demand quickly. The PNW-SGDP is testing new signals that will help grid operators to keep the grid in balance by predicting the available power and anticipated demand.