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philosopher's avatar

Do you think the United States needs to make improvements to the Power Grid?

Asked by philosopher (9152points) March 20th, 2010

I have felt we did since the 2001 Black Out in the North East. I have wondered if China caused the 2001 Black Out? Simply because they wanted to prove they could?
I have experienced Black Outs five times in the past ten years.
I had no power from last Saturday afternoon until Tuesday evening.
I am starting to wonder if, this is what the future America will be like?

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16 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

My power goes out far too frequently – and I don’t live out in the boonies – so my answer is yes.

I’m curious why China would have anything to do with a black out here in the states?

janbb's avatar

Of course; it’s been obvious for years that the grid needs updating. We drove to New England through that 2001 blackout; seriously scary.

philosopher's avatar

@janbb
This was a very disconcerting week for me.
We had a bad storm. It was cold and we had no heat or lights from Saturday afternoon until Tuesday evening.
I had to cook in the dark.
My Son is Autistic and he did not really understand.
I think many Americans know we are right. Why isn’t Congress working on it? I guess giving themselves raises comes first; or maybe bailing out some big corporation.

susanc's avatar

I don’t think anyone things we shouldn’t. But we’re so mad at each other about healthcare and the banks that we can’t think.

Bugabear's avatar

If the government and Greenpeace want me to buy an electric car they better fix it up otherwise the whole thing goes down. And they should also make it easier to fix in case of an EMP.

RandomMrdan's avatar

Maybe one day we’ll see the bloom box replacing the grid completely?

laureth's avatar

Yes, we need grid improvements. However, (1) that’s expensive, at a time when no one wants to spend the money, and (2) no one wants to deal with outages while they cut power to replace infrastructure.

Do you mean the Northeast Blackout of 2003? The Wiki has a pretty good explanation of the causes. I seriously don’t think it was China.

philosopher's avatar

I seriously think something needs to be done soon.
I live here since Sept 1999 and have had five Black Outs. The 2003 was the worst until this week.
In 2003 it was all over the East coast.

JLeslie's avatar

I like the idea of having the power sources right at our homes and on top of our buildings like wind and solar. As long as we are dependent on the grid, you will be dependent, shelling out money every month to a company or government. Just my pie in the sky fantasy. Carry on.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Of course. It’s not a question of “do we need to?”, but “how quickly can we?” (and “how do we budget for it honestly?”)

The fact is that if you have infrastructure, whether roads & bridges, rail systems, airports, power plants and distribution systems, whatever, you need to always consider maintenance, expansion and replacement. Always.

To the extent that these types of decisions are left up to politicians, however, they are routinely downplayed, ignored and underfunded as much as possible. (Same thing with siting and permitting new plants, including refineries.) The problem is that they aren’t sexy: grandstanding for “health care for all Americans” is popular—everyone wants “the government” to take care of them “for free”. No one wants to live near an electrical transmission line, or have a bridge maintenance program disrupt their daily commute. So those things are routinely put off, at least until the bridge drops into the river one afternoon, or the power fails on a hot day in the summer.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes, absolutely. I needs to invest heavily in replacing and repairing huge chunks of its seriously aging infrastructure.

philosopher's avatar

In regards to China’s role in the 2003 Black Out see this link.
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/05/did-hackers-cau/

haegenschlatt's avatar

The main improvement I think we need is smart meters. This is the 21st century, our power lines still work essentially the same they do when the grid was first introduced (if that’s even the proper word to use there.) For smarter energy use, we need meters that will tell us how much energy we’re using, how to save it, and communicate with our appliances. These are already in development but it will take quite a bit to implement them.

laureth's avatar

@philosopher – the headline to that article reads “Did Hackers Cause the 2003 Northeast Blackout? Umm, No” – and you’re using it as a reference to imply that the Chinese might have caused the blackout? Did you read the article?

An excerpt: “The detailed 228-page final NERC report found a complex confluence of events responsible, but not a single hacker. It traced the root cause of the outage to the utility company FirstEnergy’s failure to trim back trees encroaching on high-voltage power lines in Ohio. When the power lines were ensnared by the trees, they tripped.”

mattbrowne's avatar

Absolutely. But you can either invest long term or please the shareholders short term.

philosopher's avatar

I thought you all might be interested in a new possible way to improve the Power Grid.
See link.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100330161753.htm

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