A new assessment from a British and New Zealand research team has concluded that the worldwide electrical grid will suffer more frequent and significant outages if current trends continue.
In their report, which was published in the Social Space Scientific Journal, the two authors noted that nearly three quarters of American transmission lines are more than 25 years old.
“Infrastructural investment across Europe and the USA has been poor, and our power generation systems are more fragile than most people think,” said co-author Steve Matthewman, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. “The vulnerability of our electricity systems is highlighted by one particular blackout which took place in Italy in 2003, when the whole nation was left without power because of two fallen trees. This reality is particularly alarming when you consider the world’s increasing dependency on electricity.”
“Electricity fuels our existence. It powers water purification, waste, food, transportation and communication systems. Modern social life is impossible to imagine without it, and whereas cities of the past relied on man-power, today we are almost completely reliant on a series of interlocking technical systems,” said co-author Hugh Byrd, a professor of architecture at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom. “Our research therefore explores what happens when the power goes off, and explains why the security of fuel supply is such a pressing social problem.”
According to the report authors, resource constraints, such as depleting fossil fuel reserves and the ephemeral nature of renewable energy, are threatening the Western world’s presumptions about guaranteed electrical power.
Full article: Study Predicts More Frequent And Severe Blackouts In The Coming Years (Red Orbit)