For two consecutive days in July, India experienced blackouts that took down large portions of the country’s power grid. The second outage was the largest in history, leaving more than 600 million people, nearly a tenth of the world’s population, without electricity. The blackouts brought renewed attention to the country’s power sector, which is struggling to supply India’s growing demand. They exposed weak links in the transmission system, inadequate fail-safe systems for preventing cascading failures, and a lack of proper outage planning.
The 30 and 31 July failures may have affected more people than any blackout ever, but it’s tough to argue that they were the most disruptive. “I did not even know that there was some problem in the grid, because I was working from home, and in this building we have 100 percent backup,” says Sivakumaran Govindarajan, a member of the India Smart Grid Forum, who lives just outside Delhi, the largest city affected by both blackouts.
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