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July 2013 Policy Study, Number 13-5

   

Electricity – Make It, Use It – 24/7/365

Review of Electrical Grid Issues

   

Summary

   

 

The electric grid, and having stable, reliable electricity available to us 24/7/365, is a key driver of the U.S. economy. Even with renewable energy and more efficient energy use, our demand will continue to grow as our economy grows.

 

The costs of energy congestion and weather damage, especially on the East, South, and West Coast population centers, will also continue growing in the next 10, 20, or 50 years – not because the storms are stronger or more frequent, but because of the number of people and the value of the property and businesses. The value of damages from more unpredictable storms in the heartland, such as the tornados in Oklahoma, will also increase.

 

We all need Internet access, and all depend on electricity for much of our daily work and play.

 

In this brief review of the issues with electricity generation, transmission, storage, and distribution, it becomes apparent that both state and federal bureaucrats and regulators play a critical role in the timely start and completion of upgrades to this system.

 

Important also are the landowners and consumers whose safety and security concerns must be addressed, along with the cost of electricity. Consumers may best fill their role by awareness of system issues, and working towards self-sufficiency. If you know that you must have electricity 24/7/365, then you should take actions to ensure you do.

 

One of the issues to address is emergency preparedness. It would not hurt to have a personal generator, with fuel to run it – at least for a “short” time of several days. These units are not terribly expensive and would quickly pay for themselves in a crisis situation.

 

It would not hurt, whatever your position on global warming, to investigate and potentially purchase solar panels for your home or office – and to acquire the proper battery to store any excess power generated.

 

And importantly, it would help to communicate with local, state, and federal officeholders and staff members that energy grid issues must be addressed, permits must be issued in an appropriate and timely manner, and the newest technologies should be used.

 

A candlelight dinner is romantic. The iconic images of Abraham Lincoln reading by candlelight are familiar to all.

 

Yet, giving up the comforts of air conditioning, an ice-cold drink, and a deep-freezer full of meat – not to mention our iPad, iPod, cell phones, and 24-hour news cycle – is not something we look forward to!

 

   

 

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