Good advice from the editors at the CSM, following India’s massive power disruption that left half the population without electricity:
Former Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson says the US is ”œa superpower with a third-world grid.”
It’s a top-down, complex system vulnerable to bad weather, cyberattacks, solar flares, and human mistakes. And the US will need to spend about $75 billion a year to upgrade it for future electricity needs, according to a 2011 report from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Otherwise, the report states, a ”œcombination of aging equipment and capacity bottlenecks” will lead to ”œa greater incidence of electricity interruptions.”
And a new report called ”œPowering America’s Energy Resilience” from the Center for National Policy finds: ”œDisruptive risks to the critical foundations of US national power and prosperity are likely to grow in frequency and intensity in the 21st Century.” The report suggests that the US rethink the role of infrastructure in supporting daily life.
India’s blackouts point to the need for a new kind of resiliency in power supplies, one that relies on local, self-contained energy producers tied together by microgrids. Many US cities are trying this approach, especially with ”œgreen” energy such as solar. Much like the ”œlocal economy” and ”œlocal food” movements, perhaps nations can also move toward ”œlocal energy” as a way to ensure reliability.
Amen. Smartgrids make economic sense as well as being greener. I’m rather proud to say Scotland is a world leader in this. Maybe places like Texas, where the sun shines every day but the power infrastructure is helf together by boogers and string, could take tips from across the pond.