So what does it mean when America’s premier sports event goes dark for 34 minutes? Was Beyoncé just too electrifying? Or does the Super Bowl blackout signify deeper problems with electrical infrastructure?
First, we now know Beyoncé is off the hook. The halftime show used its own generator. So was the utility to blame? Entergy says a monitoring device detected a power surge in the system, and automatically shut down a feeder to half the stadium. That was to prevent any problems from spreading. Ironically, while the event spurred calls, such as this one at The Daily Beast, for a smart grid, that was a pretty smart piece of grid automation at work. Utility officials, in fact, place the problem within the Superdome’s own power system, giving the poster child for Katrina’s humanitarian crisis a new source of notoriety.
While the particulars are a bit blurred, the blackout does make the case for a different shape of power-grid architecture that is indeed an advanced form of smart grid. The vision is one of a network of smart microgrids served by distributed energy sources.