Ars Technica: New “Glowworm attack” recovers audio from devices’ power LEDs. “Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have demonstrated a novel way to spy on electronic conversations. A new paper released today outlines a novel passive form of the TEMPEST attack called Glowworm, which converts minute fluctuations in the intensity of power LEDs on speakers and USB hubs back into the audio signals that caused those fluctuations.”
EurekAlert: Argonne scientists use artificial intelligence to strengthen power grid resiliency. “At the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory a research team has developed a novel approach to help system operators understand how to better control power systems with the help of artificial intelligence. Their new approach could help operators control power systems in a more effective way, which could enhance the resilience of America’s power grid, according to a recent article in IEEE Transactions on Power Systems.”
Simon Willison: Tracking PG&E outages by scraping to a git repo. “PG&E have cut off power to several million people in northern California, supposedly as a precaution against wildfires. As it happens, I’ve been scraping and recording PG&E’s outage data every 10 minutes for the past 4+ months. This data got really interesting over the past two days! The original data lives in a GitHub repo (more importantly in the commit history of that repo).”
BusinessWire: New Public Safety Power Shutoff Zip Code Alerts Allow General Public to Receive Notifications – Including Those Without PG&E Accounts (PRESS RELEASE)
BusinessWire: New Public Safety Power Shutoff Zip Code Alerts Allow General Public to Receive Notifications – Including Those Without PG&E Accounts (PRESS RELEASE). “As part of its commitment to keep customers and communities, as well as others in its service area safe, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has developed a new tool to allow anyone to receive notifications about Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events, even if they are not PG&E customers or account holders. Although PG&E customers already will receive alerts specific to their address, this new tool is also especially useful for tenants, caretakers, travelers, and parents of school-age children.”
World Resources Institute: A Global Database of Power Plants. “The Global Power Plant Database is a comprehensive, open source database of power plants around the world. It centralizes power plant data to make it easier to navigate, compare and draw insights for one’s own analysis. Each power plant is geolocated and entries contain information on plant capacity, generation, ownership, and fuel type. As of April 2018, the database includes around 25,500 power plants from 162 countries. It will be continuously updated as data becomes available.” The database will be available Monday.
Water Power & Dam Construction (I really do read everything I can get my eyeballs on): New tool maps world’s pumped storage projects. “An interactive tool for tracking pumped storage hydropower projects worldwide has been launched by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) at COP23 climate conference. The new Hydropower Pumped Storage Tracking Tool maps the locations and vital statistics of existing and planned projects. According to the tool, more than 100 pumped storage hydropower projects totalling some 75GW of new capacity are in the pipeline around the world – with these set to increase existing global storage capacity by 50%, from 150GW to almost 225GW.”
Google Blog: Using machine learning to help people make smart decisions about solar energy. “We want to make it easy for people to make informed decisions about whether to invest in solar. Project Sunroof already shows you solar potential and cost saving for more than 60 million individual homes. Today we’re adding a new feature, Project Sunroof Data Explorer, which shows a map of existing solar installations in neighborhoods throughout the United States. Now instead of driving street to street, it’s a little easier to see if houses around you and communities nearby have already gone solar.”
The Guardian: Google Chrome: six tips to make it suck less battery power. “Google’s Chrome browser is used by over 62% of the world’s PC users, but it’s a notorious battery hog that if left to run rampant can reduce your laptop or tablet to just a couple of hours of life. But it doesn’t have to be like that, as Google is making efforts to improve it. In the meantime, here are some tips to get Chrome’s battery usage under control without sacrificing functionality.”
A new database aggregates information on grid integration of renewable energy in Australia. “The ‘Renewables Integration Stocktake’ details 233 projects, both in Australia and abroad, in order to share information quickly and help grids and renewables teams to learn from past experiences. Other aims include improving cost-efficiencies and informing the regulatory environment for renewable energy.”
A new online database provides an archive of e-mail communications between California governor Jerry Brown’s administration and utilities. “In total, the database contains more than 130,000 emails and other documents exchanged between state regulators and utility executives, largely related to the San Bruno explosion, the San Onofre closure and the approval last year of the Carlsbad Energy Center power plant. Much of the material previously was posted on the commission’s website in 2014 and 2015 or released to consumer groups under the public records law. But officials did not make the database searchable.”
Thanks to everyone who tagged me with this: a map of power outages which were caused by squirrels. “The data populating the map is culled from news reports, so it likely undercounts outages because it only includes individual incidents large enough to draw media attention. Even so, the outages noted so far are the equivalent of taking out the power in all of Phoenix for about a month, the creator of the site said.” The most shocking thing about this is that possums aren’t listed on the scorecard.