A decade of upgrades leads to ‘hardening’ of power infrastructure

A decade of upgrades leads to 'hardening' of power infrastructure

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - LG&E reports a 40 percent reduction in storm related outages due to upgrades completed over the last decade.

That is attributed to what is called a hardening of the system.

”We are always looking at our system and making investments in our system to ensure that we are as ready as possible for any scenario that would present itself,” Natasha Collins, LG&E spokesperson said.

“We are always looking to make these types of investments and it’s just a big part of what we do on a regular basis.”

The term “hardening” describes improved resilience of the power system. Incremental improvements to lines, poles and other infrastructure make outages less likely.

“All of these types of things have helped us to reduce outage frequency and outage duration within the last decade,” Collins said. “And the newest numbers we have show that it has reduced both of those things by more than 40%.”

Much of this has to do with infrastructure upgrades and improvements that have been ongoing since the ice storm of 2009 when 600 thousand customers were in the dark, some for more than a week.

That still doesn’t compare to Texas, currently struggling after 3 million outages and rolling blackouts.

”As I understand it in Texas and other places, generating capacity just didn’t live up to its name plate rating as we call it in the industry,” Michael McIntyre, Associate Professor at the UofL J.B. Speed School of Engineering said.

“The systems under-performed either because they were just off-line or the natural gas pipelines were frozen. So they just didn’t build in that hardening of the system like they’ve done here locally.”

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