The Upcoming National Electrical Energy Crisis – My Plea For A Solution

North America was in shock when it experienced a major regional blackout a few years ago. Remember that mysterious and massive power failure during the summer of Aug. 2003? That outage covered almost the entire Northeast of the United States and parts of Canada, as it went dark, and it happened in broad daylight. How could this happen? This power outage and its effects, affected over 60 million people living in the U.S. and Canada.

The massive skyscrapers were shut down, they just stopped working — the elevators, the lights, the water, everything dependent on energy shut down. The worst was that hospital operating and surgery rooms went dark and shut down. All the major traffic lights and signals stopped working and people were involved in the largest traffic gridlock the world has ever seen. If you happened to run out of gas, too bad, as the energy to power the pumps at the gas station were down. All refrigerators thawed everything out and massive amounts of food were spoiled. Train and rail systems suddenly stopped running, streetcars and subways, the Amtrak, as well as the freight trains halted to a stop. Flight controllers could not communicate with the massive airplanes wanting to land and were quickly running out of fuel. The massive underground sewage systems grinded to a halt, and as a result was clogged up. Sounds a little like a well written horror movie? Well, we all know it happened for real.

That power failure in 2003 was very bad news, thankfully it did not last that long. Most of faculties were back in business and thus working in the United States later that day. So what the hell happened, and can it happen again?

The major utility companies finally got the power back up and running. The energy experts began investigating what happened and wondered if it can happen again. The current United States power grid has enough capacity to generate enough electricity, right? What about the transmission of electrical energy being able to move power from one grid to another, that’s up to par right?
No one really knows.

What Is The Solution? What About Alternative Power Sources?
Even if you ask the experts in the alternative energy industry, such as wind, solar and geothermal power, they also have formidable challenges. Their biggest challenge is constantly fighting ‘big brother’ and thus cost competitiveness. For the alternative energy systems being able to provide adequate power, the costs range much higher than traditional power from present coal plants. A monopoly is a monopoly. Then the experts raise the issue of reliability, this due to the unreliable nature of wind and solar power, and the still unproven nature of geothermal power. There are also other questions such as the ability for alternate power to be able to transmit power from the wind and solar plants effectively and efficiently to the masses.

The major power players who hold all the cards face the prospect of the different forms of power alternatives available, such as: whats the availability of the current fuel resources? Will coal still be usable? Will using natural gas be available at a lower cost? What about nuclear systems and it’s biggest problem of waste disposal? Should the major producers running the utility companies look into alternative energy systems?

This all comes back to you and me, the consumer and how much we can afford to pay. What rates will the energy regulators allow? If these large utility companies invest in alternative power programs, such as solar power, what if these alternate sources produce electricity at a higher cost than current rates? Will the regulators offer some type of reimbursement to offset the costs? And how long would that last?

A professor who has recently looked into the historical trends for electrical power in the United States, estimated that over the next 10 years or so, the price for electrical power will double on average. This ironically will put the costs back to the 1950’s where the production was in it’s crude stages and thus high to produce. The only alternative is to further research and invest in new energy power systems and the whole of North America make a conservative effort on a large scale to save energy. That said, I’m out.

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