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7/12/2017 by mdc
https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2017/07/10/americas-next-energy-crisis/...
Charles McConnell, Executive Director of Rice University Energy and Environment Initiative, opines that some disasters arise unexpectedly, like an earthquake or massive storm. Others seem inevitable. Who did not see the 2008 financial crisis coming? In hindsight, most of us.

In reality, most crises that seem inevitable after the fact often catch nearly all of us by surprise when they occur. The factors were obvious enough, but few people saw them coming together. There is a potential crisis that will seem predictable, after the fact. It is better to take thoughtful consideration and positive action now and not say I told you so later.

Our electrical grid is being stretched to the brink. The U.S. is making itself less resilient against catastrophic failure from a major weather event or terror attack every day. Our infrastructure increasingly depends on much less secure, resilient and reliable sources of energy, like wind, solar or even natural gas. These sources do not provide the dependable availability of nuclear or coal. During the polar vortex in 2014, coal and nuclear power plants in the Midwest and Northeast operated at full capacity to ensure tens of millions of Americans did not lose power or heat. The output was a testament to a system that included the resilience of those power plants.

What is worrying is that many of those coal and nuclear plants are no longer operating. Many more will be phased out soon. These closures are the result in part of a regulatory framework that imposes much higher burdens on these pillars of our electrical-power grid than the less secure sources to which we are now calling our future. We anticipate growing by subtracting resilient energy sources, and the math just does not work.

Most Americans do not think much about electricity. It charges our phones and turns the lights on when we flick a switch. When it works, there is not much reason to think about it.

Read on ...


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