Blackout. What happens when the power goes off?

Matthewman, Steve and Byrd, Hugh (2014) Blackout. What happens when the power goes off? Connection (5). pp. 5-10. ISSN UNSPECIFIED

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Abstract

Power generation systems are undoubtedly critical infrastructures. But they are more fragile than is commonly supposed, and there is plenty of evidence they are getting frailer. Recent blackouts are dress rehearsals for a future in which they will appear with greater frequency and greater severity, due to growing uncertainties in supply and growing certainties in demand.
Supply is generally taken for granted in western societies. Such is our dependence that our comfort, security, communication systems, transport, health, food supply, businesses and social equity systems struggle when electricity supplies are interrupted. Continuing sophistication and prevalence of electrical appliances only serves to increase our dependence. In the digital world, interruptions and disturbances less than 1 cycle (1/60th second) can have catastrophic effects. We now face a significant social problem. Increasing numbers of people are living longer and enjoying rising
living standards. In 2008, the world’s population was 6,700,000,000, predicted to rise to 8,500,000,000 by 2035 with demand for electricity estimated to grow in that time by a staggering 80%. This will require an additional 5,900 gigawatts of capacity, according to the IEA. No one knows how this will be generated.
Irrespective of their cause, research has shown that social impact patterns emerge when blackouts occur.

Keywords:blackouts, Infrastructure, electricity, society, Social Equity, JCOpen
Subjects:L Social studies > L391 Sociology of Science and Technology
H Engineering > H632 Electrical Power Distribution
H Engineering > H630 Electrical Power
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
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ID Code:15547
Deposited On:20 Oct 2014 08:28

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