Blackouts Are Dress Rehearsals For The Future

January 28, 2014, by Ken Jorgustin

blackouts-in-the-future

Electricity fuels our existence. We got along just fine without it through the vast majority of our human existence; however today — most people would literally die without it.

The risks of blackout continue to rise as we strain the systems to their limit…


 
Having just read a JAN-2014 research paper “Blackouts: a sociology of electrical power failure” written by Steve Mathewman and Hugh Byrd of the University of Auckland (New Zealand) and the University of Lincoln (United Kingdom), I discover that once again my general opinion is reaffirmed — our dependency on electricity is a major systemic risk.

“It powers water purification, waste, food, transportation and communications systems. Modern social life is impossible to imagine without it.”

“Power generation systems are more fragile than is commonly supposed, and they are getting frailer.”

According to the study, power cuts will become more regular around the globe as electrical supply becomes increasingly vulnerable and demand for technology continues to grow at an unprecedented rate.

Electricity. Modern social life is impossible to imagine without it, and whereas cities of the past relied on man-power, today we are almost completely reliant on a series of interlocking technical systems.

The Western world relies on ageing systems, with almost three quarters of American transmission lines more than 25 years old. Mathewman said “Infrastructural investment across Europe and the USA has been poor, and our power generation systems are more fragile than most people think.”

Fuel sources continue to become more difficult and expensive to resource as the ‘easy pickings’ are gone while demand continues to rise in a growing population of increasing users of all things electronic.

The report also indicates that in the last few decades, air conditioning has been the greatest factor in increased electrical consumption and is one of the greatest sources of systematic strain. The electricity used to fuel America’s air conditioning is currently a similar volume to its entire energy consumption in the 1950s, and countries such as China and India are following a similar pattern.

While societies are becoming more dependent upon electrical power, supply will struggle to meet demand. And that assumption is in a functioning civilized world…

What happens if some or part of our civilization breaks down?

Among few other reasons, nations have fought wars over resources. It’s happening right now. And it will only get worse as more and more resources are depleted while our demands seek to increase. Something will have to give…

Several generations of human existence have evolved with reliance upon electricity as the lifeblood to our systems of existence. It is invisible, and is completely taken for granted by most everyone. We think that it will always be there – like the air that we breathe. The thing is… you might want to think again.

When I go about my preparedness, I sometimes consider what it would be like in a life without electricity. I certainly do not wish it, but I have the sense to realize that like anything else – there is a probability and a risk.

Do yourself a favor and at least give it some thought. Cross reference your daily activities without electricity – especially those which are life sustaining. Try to come up with alternative solutions and then go about making a plan to do what you need to do…

Personally, I believe a better (more responsible and self-sufficient) way to live – and one which may become more necessary in our future – is to augment or replace one’s energy needs with alternative sources or changes in lifestyle which circumvent some of those needs.

For example, alternative energy such as solar could easily sustain a household without requiring any external power company to provide your electricity. While costs of solar photovoltaic panels and systems have come down significantly over the years, they are still relatively high. However it is a form of insurance, self-reliance, and will eliminate a major systemic risk in your life.

There are many other methods to reduce one’s overall dependence upon the power grid. As we continue into the future, we will almost certainly find ourselves changing our behaviors and lifestyles as our existing grid continues to strain. Stay ahead of the curve. Don’t let the next blackout put your life at risk. Be prepared.

Source: Blackouts: a sociology of electrical power failure