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Blackouts Would Have Been Avoided During Power Crisis if New Network Optimization Technologies Used

by Business Wire
Business Wire - October 30, 2001

BENICIA, Calif., Oct 30, 2001 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Optimal Technologies, developer of software and hardware to improve the analysis, management, design, and operation of electric power systems and complex networks, today announced contract results of its new Aempfast(TM) ("Aim-Fast") software that can prevent blackouts by improving system efficiency and reliability.

Under a contract with the California Energy Commission (CEC) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), and with participation of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Optimal was asked to review whether it was necessary to implement a rotating power outage on June 14, 2000. The outage, one of the first of several that year, resulted in the unscheduled cutoff of power to 97,029 Bay Area business and residential power customers, at an estimated cost of $160 million to the Bay Area and Silicon Valley economy.

Optimal's analysis shows there would have been no need for the June 14, 2000 blackouts if PG&E's system had been optimized with Aempfast software. Aempfast would have increased available power, without the need for new generation, by optimizing the use of existing resources in ways not possible with current technology. Based on this and other internal and "beta" testing, Optimal has found that Aempfast typically can identify potential efficiencies in existing power grids ranging from three to ten percent -- without additions to existing grid resources -- while significantly increasing system stability and improving power quality.

"The study results have verified Optimal's claims as to the unique capabilities of their developmental software," said Don Kondoleon, Manager, Transmission Evaluation Program, California Energy Commission. "The CEC will be meeting shortly with the CAISO and Optimal to discuss potential near-term applications of their tool for addressing California's energy problems."

Not only would Aempfast have allowed the system to remain stable under the June 14, 2000 loads, but the analysis also found an additional 130 Megawatts (MW) of generation that were available during the crisis but not known to system operators -- enough to power approximately 130,000 more homes.

"With the tools and the data available at the time, CAISO and PG&E made appropriate decisions to avoid system collapse," said Roland Schoettle, founder and CEO, Optimal Technologies International, Inc. "However, the test results show that Optimal has significantly better tools for planning and operating power systems than those currently in use. We're pleased that our technologies' capabilities have been demonstrated and verified by this contract and we believe the results represent what Aempfast can achieve in enhanced system efficiency, reliability, and power quality for any sized power system in California or the world."

According to Schoettle, Optimal's technologies uniquely overcome current network analysis and optimization limitations. They are capable of optimizing all power network components into a cohesive, enhanced operating system that protects system-wide initiatives in real-time. Anticipated applications of Optimal's technologies in today's electric power industry include:

"Optimal Technologies' tools clearly allow for more efficient and reliable use of electricity resources," said Barbara Barkovich Ph.D., Principal, Barkovich and Yap, Inc. and former California ISO Board Member. "This provides great benefits for customers by allowing us to use the resources we have as efficiently as possible and to plan system additions in the most effective way."

Related Sites:
Optimal Technologies

Business Wire
Blackouts Would Have Been Avoided During Power Crisis if New Network Optimization Technologies Used
Business Wire October 30, 2001

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