Lights out: the dark future of electric power

Byrd, Hugh and Matthewman, Steve (2014) Lights out: the dark future of electric power. New Scientist (2968). ISSN 0262-4079

Full content URL: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22229684.300...

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Abstract

ON 14 August 2003, the north-eastern US and Ontario, Canada,
were crippled by an enormous electrical blackout that affected 50
million people. Commuters struggled to get to work, ATMs failed,
36 car manufacturing plants were closed and hundreds of flights
were cancelled, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in economic
losses. The cause was later found to be a software bug in a
control room in Ohio.
A few weeks later, the whole of Italy was cut off from Europe's
electricity grid for 18 hours after falling trees took out two power
lines in neighbouring Switzerland.
We tend to think of such events as occasional, inconvenient blips.
But in fact they are becoming increasingly common, and will only
get more frequent and severe. This is because our electricity
systems are more fragile than is commonly supposed, and are
getting frailer. Unless we act, blackouts will become a regular,
extremely disruptive part of everyday life.

Additional Information:This article appeared in print under the headline "Dark future"
Keywords:power failure, blackouts, disruptive technologies, oaopen, NotOAChecked
Subjects:J Technologies > J910 Energy Technologies
H Engineering > H632 Electrical Power Distribution
L Social studies > L391 Sociology of Science and Technology
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:14823
Deposited On:07 Sep 2014 07:48

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