This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 27, 2003

Hydropower and Conservation Contributed to Blackout Recovery

New York State may draw on a wide number of energy sources for its electricity, but when it needed to recover from the August 14th blackout, it turned to hydropower. Hydroelectric power plants have the ability to "blackstart"-start generating power without help from any external power source-and to produce power immediately. In contrast, nuclear and fossil-fuel power plants require significant startup times, and nuclear power plants are not permitted to operate while the power grid is not energized. According to the National Hydropower Association (NHA), hydropower facilities were the first to be placed in operation in order to establish a stable power grid, the critical first step in restoring power to the region. See the NHA press release.

Energy conservation also played an important role during the recovery, as power supplies remained tight for several days after the blackout. See, for example, the press releases from two utilities that serve New York State, Niagara Mohawk and Consolidated Edison.