Turns out the solar eclipse, set to plunge parts of the U.S. into total darkness on Monday, will offer exactly what the power sector’s been looking for: a completely predictable stage for experiments.

It’s not often that power grid operators, utilities and electricity generators get such precise and advance notice about more than 12,000 MW of solar power supplies set to suddenly drop off their systems. And some are looking forward to it — as a means of testing plants, software and markets refined in recent years in anticipation of the day when renewable energy becomes the world’s dominant source of power.

The way David Shepheard, managing director at consultant Accenture Plc, sees it: The eclipse is the “forecastable dress rehearsal”

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