Sue's Blog

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

American Power Grid to Canada...

Everyone wants the power and a means to get it to them....
Our Lower Churchill need to be used in Labrador and on the Island....
Keep industry for our Province...

The following is an OP-ED in the Buffalo News

The blackout of 2003 shut down parts of Canada, Ohio, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, affecting 50 million people over 9,226 square miles. The U.S. Department of Energy recently released a report on the nation's electric grid confirming that the system remains stiflingly congested and concluding that new capacity is necessary and in some areas, urgent.

While additional capacity is important, simply patching or expanding the current system isn't the solution. Today's grid was built primarily in the 1960s or earlier, using even older technology. Even with greater capacity, that obsolete technology is unable to keep pace with population growth, the explosion of digital technology and the related demand for power delivery, continuing security threats and the increase in power line transactions that have resulted from wholesale deregulation.

Bob Galvin, who built Motorola into a Fortune 100 company, has brought together a highly skilled team to design, and ultimately build, a perfect power system - one that cannot fail. As fantastic as this vision sounds, Galvin has a record of success in quality improvement that proves no innovation is impossible. With a detailed blueprint under way, the Galvin team is now selecting sites to build a commercial prototype of the perfect power system.

The perfect power system will turn today's outdated, largely electromechanical power generation and delivery system into a "smart" system. Such a system will instantaneously self-correct, sending power to exactly where it's needed, when it's needed, in the most efficient manner possible.

A perfect system will also incorporate distributed generation and storage - on-site facilities that ensure power is always available, even if the grid is not. These systems are comparatively easy to operate with clean and renewable fuel sources, and can augment the grid as necessary to provide additional power at times of peak demand or back-up power should something go wrong.

The vast majority of this enabling technology already exists. The issue now is the urgency of action. To plan for the nation's future will require the input of every sector - beginning with the individual consumer. I urge readers to question the current system, to recognize that blackouts are not inevitable and that waste is not acceptable.

We are on the cusp of an opportunity. In the next 10 years, if little or nothing is done to transform the current system, rolling blackouts will become an ever-more-frequent fact of life. If the system is merely expanded or patched with obsolete technology, it will not be able to power a digital world.

On the other hand, we have the opportunity to spark nothing short of a revolution in this system that is crucial to every aspect of American life. We can make this nation safer, more productive, cleaner and healthier. But we must choose and then work to do so.

Kurt Yeager is executive director of Galvin Electricity Initiative.

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