The U.S. Can Look Forward to Increasing Power Blackouts

The combination of increasing population, global warming, and our aging power grid, is leading the United States towards a higher frequency of blackouts. Blackouts can become a common occurrence and a way of life if we don't take steps to upgrade our infrastructure soon.

There are examples of this occurring on a large scale, such as the Northeast Blackout that caused 55 million people to loose power for more than 12 hours in 2003. Blackouts of this magnitude cause widespread traffic gridlocks, looting, lack of available emergency service, and cell phone network overloads due to the number of people trying to use them. All these negative effects occurred in a very short period of time, which would only be amplified during a much longer power outage.

As the population and temperatures increase, so does the demand for power. During the afternoon hours of summer when the use of air conditioning peaks, this can cause local grid overloads, which can lead to widespread grid overload in a matter of minutes as each power station shuts down, increasing the load on the stations which remain online, as was the case in the 2003 blackout.

Many steps must be taken in order to increase the reliability of our nation's power grid. The three main steps include installing smart grid technology, encouraging efficient use of power, and adding additional renewable energy power plants.

Smart grid technology will allow better power management, and increase the overall efficiency of power delivery to the consumer. This technology gives utilities the ability to not only monitor, but control power consumption by switching certain loads off during peak energy demand hours to avoid an overload that would lead to a blackout.

Everyone can contribute to the efficient use of power in homes and businesses. Simply switching from incandescent to florescent lighting can make an enormous difference in the amount of energy consumed.

Solar power is a great part of the solution for two main reasons. One, it is is clean renewable energy, and second, it produces maximum power during peak energy demands! Don't forget to read about all the benefits of solar power.


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