The fragility of our electrical grid

Concerns over the fragility of the US’ electrical grid were only reinforced when the Wall Street Journal published this report detailing out our power grid could be knocked out by someone taking out out nine key electric-transmission substations (there are 55,000 total in this country) and also one transformer manufacturer (to delay reconstruction).  It wouldn’t just be a minor disruption either…it would take an estimated eighteen months to restore functionality.  Our substations are hardly secure either, protected mostly by fences and cameras.  Proof of that came last year when someone used rifles to knock out 17 transformers in a San Jose substation; they never were caught.  Kinda amazing that all our technology could be wiped out so easily, plunging us into, well, it’s hard to say what would happen…certainly not as bad as the TV show Revolution, but easily an economic depression of unprecedented magnitude.  Your neighbors with grid-tied solar would be equally out of luck – those systems only provide power when the grid itself is energized.

You can read more about this in the WSJ link (paywall!) or at Treehugger.

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