The debate over increased spending on our nation’s aging power grid system came up recently as we dealt with an increase in storms and other aging grid-related events.
Now that the US government shutdown is resolved, it is high time that the grid spending issue is addressed. As with any power system that generates electricity, it does require maintenance and updates on a regular basis to remain productive.
Power outages are a major cause of loss of income for almost every business. It’s also an inconvenient--and sometimes life-threatening--event for consumers. Americans rely on electrical power every day, from electric pumps that pump water, to a well keeping us cool in the summer, and not to mention all forms of electronic communication. Most of us do not think about what it will take to keep that flow of power coming in the future.
American homes and businesses lose power an average of 1.2 times per year, for an average of two hours each occurrence. The power grid system is made up of a complex set of power generation sources such as gas and coal -fired plants, hydroelectric, nuclear, wind and solar.
The idea is to get the power from the sources to the end user with a system of power stations, substations and under and above ground wires to carry it. The grid is what channels the power through to the end user from the source through a system of computer generated switches and power stations to move power where the demand is for that particular day.
Spending money to fix a grid system that is aging is estimated at about 21 billion per year for the next 20 years to get the grid technology up to speed with the ever -increasing demand and threats to our system as well.
Grid technology upgrades are a must, as we depend on these grids to function in order to live and work. After a computer glitch caused the blackout of 2003, some spending increases were put into effect. However, it wasn’t nearly enough to fix the problem.
Electrical engineers have determined that a major overhaul of the system must begin now before we encounter other major grid breakdowns in the near future.
The question that we the consumer and our government officials need to ask ourselves now that the shutdown is behind us is, “What is the cost of not upgrading the current system?”
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