CHAPTER 9: WEATHER AND ENERGY
INDIA IS THE third largest consumer and producer of electricity in the world after the U.S. and China. With a population of over 1.2 billion people, the country suffers from a fragile power system, and 300 million people have no access to electricity. The summer of 2012 was particularly hot and demand hit record highs in New Delhi. Late arrival of the monsoons meant that hydropower production was lower than usual and agricultural areas had increased demand for operating irrigation pumps to paddy fields. As a result, on July 30, circuit breakers on the 400 kV Bina-Gwalior line tripped and power failures eventually cascaded through the grid, leaving more than 300 million people without electricity. The next day the system failed again and over 620 million people, almost half of the population of India, had no electricity. This blackout was the largest power outage in history with an estimated 32 gigawatts of generating capacity being taken offline and affecting about 9 percent of the world population. The application of data, for insight, could have better prepared the country or perhaps even prevented the blackout.
The weather serves as an interesting case study for understanding the paradigm shifts that are currently taking place in different industrial sectors. There is a growing realization that data and appropriate analytics can be used to monitor, describe, and forecast the evolution of key performance indicators. There ...