Monday, June 18, 2007

Lights Out

From today's EEI newsletter:

New Book, 'Lights Out,' Predicts More Blackouts if Grid Not Bolstered

Reuters produced a book review of "Lights Out" by Jason Makansi, which contends that the nation's power grids require a prompt upgrade to avert potential blackouts. The review cites Makansi as saying deregulation is the main culprit, because by splitting the ownership of power plants from the owners of grids, the latter became a "neglected stepchild."

Makansi sees the rise of financial engineering – with results such as the California power crisis six years ago – as displacing systems engineering, and said no matter how technologically and environmentally sound new power plants are they still will have to transmit that power on antiquated grids. As a comparison, he writes: "Imagine driving a Maserati over a road littered with potholes."

Makansi suggests increasing nuclear generation from about one fifth of domestic power supply to 50 percent, and he found good news in the spread of "smart meters," writing: "It should be the consumer who decides how competition should unfold, and not the regulator."
Reuters via the Boston Globe, book review , June 17.

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