Why Is Our Power Grid Failing?
Constructing a national electric power grid began in 1934 when the federal government set standards and promoted the distribution of electricity across the country. Power lines were constructed to provide electricity to delighted citizens and interconnecting distant cities. Tall towers were installed to carry high-voltage that was then stepped down to levels that could be used in homes, offices, and businesses.
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These towers formed a network of transmission and distribution lines that allowed utility companies to move electrical power around the nation and into and out of Canada and Mexico. New power generation plants were built with substations to condition the electricity so it could be passed along or stepped down for use locally. Long distance transmission lines extended to other power stations where distribution lines provided electricity to consumers.
Much of our current electrical grid was installed between the late 1930s and 1950s when superhighways appeared and electrical lines were connecting new cities almost overnight. This significantly increased demand for electrical power and taxed the existing power generation capabilities of the nation.
For 30 years the grid grew until over 160,000 miles of high-voltage lines had evolved into a huge network–the national power grid. This grid was growing so fast that thoughts of future upgrade were less important than keeping up with demand.
The popularity and use of electricity grew so fast that within a few generations demand for electrical power began to exceed the available supply, and the electrical grid came under severe stress. This demand continues to grow and today we consume almost five times the electricity that we did back in the 1950s. Yet there has been little improvement in the electrical infrastructure built so long ago.
Government and industry leaders should have aggressively addressed the pending problem as it developed, but a collective effort didn’t happen. Instead of constructing new power generation plants, distribution stations and transmission lines, our national leaders adopted energy policies that caused critical electrical sources such as improved coal-fired power plants to close and failed to support building advanced nuclear reactor power generation plants.
In addition, utility companies were reluctant to upgrade transmission lines unless the consuming public paid the bill and they were already cash-challenged. Upgrades are expensive and if the money wasn’t available, upgrade issues were pushed aside for someone else to handle. Government and utility companies chose instead to repair and maintain the aging electrical infrastructure. The result has been devastating–fewer power plants and less available electricity.
Now electrical power outages are darkening homes and communities. Outdated and aging power delivery systems are contributing to a crisis in electrical dependability, and utility companies and government entities are now racing to keep ahead of the crisis in obsolescence. We are all paying for their lack of due diligence.
Today we are experiencing an increase in sudden power outages and rolling blackouts. Failures of sections of our electrical grid are occurring more frequent with outages lasting longer. And some fear a complete collapse is coming. We all need to prepare for the day power goes out–because it will.
Whether you choose to invest in forms of power that are not grid reliant/alternative energy or to prepared for a life without a reliable source of power is up to you. No matter what you choose, the worst thing you can do it to not prepare for the inevitable. Are you prepared? Let us know how you plan for the grid failure in the comments.
Check out these related articles:
Power Grid Attack: Not Just Possible, But Likely
What Can Be Done to Protect the Power Grid?
What Would Happen If Our Transformers Were Attacked?
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July 7, 2014 at 8:17 AM
Providing off the grid power options for homes is a necessity today yes but the source’s that provide on the grid power are all the cause’s of why we are in a bind today and so to write in a way that seems to imply the error lies in “not enough” of what is currently providing, well it is insanity. — Why does this site or anyone support these methods? Especially nuclear reactors? Don’t you see how they are destroying our planet and our lives? Have you paid attention to Japan lately? How long now since their nuclear power plant failed and began leaking?? Two years is about right and it is still leaking, we have radiation showing up on the west coast of our country and as far inland as the mid-west. I crack up every time I hear some dum dum say nuke power is “clean” energy. LOLOL……. WHAT????? Clean is so far from the truth and we should be looking elsewhere for solutions that are truly clean energy, and free would be nice as well. The only way to free us of the robbery and dependance of public utilities is to uncover the truth to providing energy to all people at ease and no cost. It is out there but hidden well. Wake up and stop supporting our demise. All the current energy options in place today are destroying our planet because they are all WRONG. You think more nuke power is a good idea, go visit Japan for a couple weeks and then come back here and say again….???? They are storing nuclear waste in black trash bags and piling it up in some vacant land area because no one knows what to do with it. If the power does go down as you repeatedly write will be, then what will be when all these nuke power plants are disconnected and over heat from lack of electricity that provides POWER to the POWER plant of nuclear reactors??? LOLOLOL…. you guys are so off and do not even see what you are stating. EVERYTHING, every power plant requires an additional power plant to fuel it. One big spin cycle of insanity and coal is what began the destruction of our ozone layer and atmosphere, MORE please. Now instead of learning from that or from Japan, what happens? You guys write and advocate for MORE of these things that put us in predicaments of peril. So we just keep going with the wrong solution for power and have to create “fix’s” for the damages the source we won’t stop using is creating. It just never ends with anything bona fide ever. Proof is today we are being sprayed to off-set the deadly effects of our power source’s and so we can keep using them.??? I often wish I could just step off this lunatic run globe and go live on a sane one. Off the grid – one option that is available, solar or wind. Period, and still they require a toxic battery to move the energy to produce power. Get used to no power because it is coming. No options are really sustainable in the long term so why bother? FIND the correct answer and write about that. All else is an AD to take your money. Another reason why nothing good is working. Too many only see $$$ as their answers and $$$ is only paper and becoming worthless, so then what?
July 7, 2014 at 9:46 AM
You neglected the most recent disadvantage our power grid suffers….governments are outlawing old plants, shutting them now because they use the wrong power source. Obama’s orders to shut down coal fired plants will remove the largest number of plants.
The New York City area is the worst in the country and although the voters there vote Obama every time, their leaders are pleading to keep the coal fired plants and even petitioning to open the one closed in Newburgh, NY. Nuclear plants will be next!
The American public is schizophrenic and their views re power prove it!
July 7, 2014 at 10:42 AM
Great point, Alice! Using EPA regulations to kill the power industry is a hugely concerning.
July 7, 2014 at 9:56 AM
The Nuclear Power antagonists are worse than the Coal Power ones. They live well in the Nuclear Age and decry it!
The facts are that our planet is the source of the greatest nuclear threats and so is our universe and yet both are millions of years old. Life forms adapt to our planets and will continue to do so and so will the nuclear freakouts.
The recent Nuclear “Disaster” in Japan illustrates the futility of the “We are against Nuclear, it is killing us all” groups. The men staying and supervising the clean up are still there doing their job while the naysayers are twiddling their thumbs writing nonsense.
Man is not God or Allah even though they try to make themselves Masters of the Universe, even found groups to make them so. They are given a small life span and that is the solution to all their problems….not trying to rid the Earth of something that is integral to it!
Ted I Lewis
July 7, 2014 at 11:09 AM
Our cabin is 100% solar. Have been for 25 years. Have everything you have as far as elect stuff. Big screen tv, two chest freezers and all the rest. Just don’t get a electric bill. Anyone can do this! Just learn and don’t listen to all the so called experts. I first ran out whole cabin on 1500 watt inverter. 12 volt d c and did work for a long time. 12 volt works but is hard on batts. We use 24 volt with stacked 2400 watt inverter chargers. But to get by? 1500 watt-12 volt will work. And will work for a long time if you are careful. You will be surprised at all the stuff you don’t need, when you have to get by. Be glad to help any who heed it. And start looking around when you are out driving. You eill see all kinds of solar cells that can be used when the fight starts. Hell, railroads have them all over! Why not borrow them?! Remember, its about your family’s survival! Take care. Ted
July 8, 2014 at 5:51 AM
I have long worried about the vulnerability of the power grid. In 2009 we installed a 7 KW grid tied PV system. I am presently installing a large battery backup to my present system. I agree… it isn’t “if” but
“when.” Within weeks, I will be able to live for years, if necessary, without the grid. Those who are not prepared or preparing for the consequences of a long term grid loss have their heads in the sand regardless of how well prepared they are in other aspects.
July 9, 2014 at 3:35 PM
All this talk about CO2 emissions is a HOAX!!!! One volcano puts more CO2 in the atmosphere than This country has since its been a country.
July 9, 2014 at 3:37 PM
Man is not in charge, GOD is!!!!
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February 1, 2015 at 11:28 PM
One very Big elephant in the room is that they have its control tied to the internet instead of an independent network that would be connected to the internet only when the independent network failed. So hackers can sabotage it at anytime from anywhere which would be much harder if they no access to controlling computers.
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