Tuesday, June 19, 2007

News on the Electric Grid

From Reuters:

Most people in the United States only think about where electricity comes from when the lights go out suddenly.

But unless the antiquated transmission grid is fixed, expensive blackouts that bring modern life to a grinding halt will become ever more common, according to "Lights Out" (Wiley, $27.95), a new book by Jason Makansi.
Then again ...
The average US electricity customer loses power for more than three hours annually – outages that cost the US economy about $80 billion.

That may be about to change.

America's power grid has a new cop on the beat, ready to slap stiff fines on power companies that don't meet new national standards for grid reliability. The standards become mandatory on Monday.

Reliance on voluntary guidelines and collegial cooperation among power companies is out. Fines of as much as $1 million a day are in – levied by the North American Reliability Corp. (NERC), which is freshly armed with a federal mandate.

3 comments:

Doug said...

Well, hmmm, so slap 'em with fines for not providing reliable power, good, but then block construction of all new power plants that use reliable technology, not so good.

Starvid said...

State loan guarantees, corporate and state cooperation and centralized grid planning... how hard can it be?

But oh no, let's not be reasonable.

KenG said...

An average of 3 hours per year outage translates to a reliability of 99.97%. In a country the size of the US with a variety of weather events that seems pretty good. The tone of the original article surprises me. It seems to me the larger challenge is the very unusual events - the longer and more extensive outages that may happen only once every 10 years.