Every minute of every day we face a deadly threat in America, yet very few are paying attention to the problem. A downed power grid would change life as we know it more than virtually any other doomsday scenario ever could; and is far more likely than a plethora of the apocalyptic scenarios contrived by Hollywood producers.
Should the power grid go down for just a single week, approximately one million Americans will likely die. Many scientists agree that such a doomsday scenario would also cause trillions of dollars’ worth of damage. With the very existence of such a significant portion of society on the line, a logical person would think that the government would be taking the idea of a massive solar storm, cyber-attack, or EMP attack, far more seriously. But, applying logic or common sense to the way career politicians think is a futile endeavor.
The United States power grid has more blackouts than any other country in the developed world, according to new data that spotlights the country’s aging and unreliable electric system. The data by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) shows that Americans face more power grid failures lasting at least an hour than residents of other developed nations. And it’s getting worse.
Going back three decades, the United States grid loses power 285 percent more often than it did in 1984, when record keeping began. The power outages cost businesses in the United States as much as $150 billion per year, according to the Department of Energy.
The power grid has morphed in size tenfold during the past 50 years. While solar flares, cyber-attacks, and an EMP are perhaps the most extensive and frightening threats to the electrical system, the fragile infrastructure could just as easily fail in large portions, due to weather-related events. The power grid is basically a ticking time bomb which will spawn civil unrest, lack of food, clean water, and a multitude of fires if it does go down.
The power grid is our most antiquated and vulnerable piece of infrastructure. The entire system is teetering on the brink of failure. The grid is often called America’s glass jaw because of the nation’s reliability on it and also due to its many weaknesses, such as its vulnerability to a domino effect because it is interconnected. There are about 5,800 power plants and 450,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines in the US, many of them decades old and a large portion of them connected to one another.
Weather-related events were the primary cause of power outages from 2007 to 2012, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers infrastructure report card. Power grid reliability issues are emerging as the greatest threat to the electrical system. The ASCE grade card also notes that retiring and rotating in “new energy sources” is a “complex” process.
Freezing temperatures across the United States during the winter of 2013-14 placed an extraordinary burden on the power grid – and in some places have served as a reminder of its vulnerabilities. It became so cold that cargo ships are getting caught in a frozen Detroit River, forcing them to rely on icebreakers. In the South, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) issued an Energy Emergency Alert 2 on Monday as the state’s main power grid barely avoided overwhelming outages. The level two alert is the final step in the process before rotating power outages are implemented.
Weather-related issues caused the loss of two big power plants that totaled an approximate 3,700 megawatt power decrease. ERCOT was urging citizens to conserve power. ERCOT’s Dan Woodfin told the media that the loss of just one more large power plant could have “pushed the grid over the edge.”
During the near-power outage in Texas, the state was forced to import roughly 800 megawatts of power from the nation’s eastern power grid and another 180 megawatts from Mexico. One megawatt of power offers enough energy to supply 200 homes during a peak usage period and 500 during non-peak hours. The arctic chill likely prompted many homeowners and businesses to run their heating units far longer and harder than is standard for this time of year – increasing usage during hours.
The Tennessee Valley Authority also reported increased electricity consumption when freezing temperatures in the single digits blanketed the South. The utility commission issued both a “Conservative Operations Alert” and a “Power Supply Alert.” The department also suspended all routine maintenance activities to reduce the risk of a power interruption.
Storms of various types are the leading causes of power outages in America. Severe weather has caused more than 675 blackouts between 2003 and 2012, costing the US approximately $18 billion to $33 billion per year, according to a report by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
Massoud Amin said, “Each one of these blackouts costs tens of hundreds of millions, up to billions, of dollars in economic losses per event. We used to have two to five major weather events per year [that knocked out power], from the ‘50s to the ‘80s. Between 2008 and 2012, major outages caused by weather increased to 70 to 130 outages per year. Weather used to account for about 17 to 21 percent of all root causes. Now, in the last five years, it’s accounting for 68 to 73 percent of all major outages,” during an interview with the New York Times.
The electrical system in New Jersey also faced severe strain during the winter of 2013. A regional power grid operator from the state reported that the system, which serves the eastern and southern portions of America, was overloaded and PJM Interconnection asked consumers to conserve electricity. PJM is a Pennsylvania-based organization which manages the wholesale of power to the region.
The regional grid serves approximately 61 million people in 13 different states. Areas included in the service region include Ohio, New Jersey, Kentucky, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Michigan, West Virginia, Tennessee, Washington, DC. Virginian, and Maryland. According to PJM, the polar vortex weather front caused natural gas and other types of power plants to unexpectedly shut down. A polar vortex is the circulation of upper-level, strong winds which normally flow around the North Pole in a counterclockwise path. Sometimes the polar low pressure system can become “distorted” and range much further south than is typical.
When Superstorm Sandy rocked the New Jersey coast in 2012, millions of largely unprepared people were without power for weeks. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) statistics, there have been 645 hurricanes between the months of September and November since 1851. In comparison, only 321 hurricanes formed from June through August during the same time period.
by Tara Dodrill
Before It's News
All Self Sustained
Patriot Net Daily
Survivalist News Network
My Child Behaviour
My Daily Informer
My Family Survival Plan
The Garden Prepper
The Married Gang
The Prepper Dome
US Crisis Preppers