America’s Aging Power Grids Essay

2967 words - 12 pages

Infrastructures are the foundation of which our nation’s security, health and economy are built and operate upon. They provide services from an individual level to the national level. Amongst the services they provide are the power we use in our homes (electricity), the water we drink (water and sewage), the transportation that moves us (railways, airports, and seaports), and the communication systems we depend on to communicate with family and friends, as well as, conduct daily business (i.e. internet and telephones). If one of these infrastructures was to become disabled it could send the affected areas back to the Stone Age; meaning it could affect national security, public health, and or safety; slowing daily activities to a crawl.
This report will be focusing on the power grids and how their aging may present a national problem in the immediate future. The 2003 the Northeastern Power Outage displayed how vulnerable our current power grids are and the problems that is associated with them, therefore, gaining independency from a single source of energy in this aspect must be achieved in the future due to restraints that was observed during this incident. Traffic lights became inoperable; sewage did not work due to the lack of electric power, food spoiled because there was not any refrigeration, people was forced to sleep without air condition during extremely high temperatures, and trains that is powered by electricity became stranded on rail lines due to the lack of power. Patching the problem is not a fix; we must explore new technology aimed at providing this service and install it on a national level and expand it into our neighboring countries within the North and South American continent. This type of solution not only solves problems associated with the power grids, but it may create a huge boost into the American economy putting unemployed Americans back to work.
What is an Electrical Power Grid and How It Works
The electrical power grid is a network of electrical transmission lines connecting a multiplicity of generating stations to loads over a wide area. The power sent across the network of power lines are used to power everything from homes to automobiles. This is a very challenging process. The most challenging aspect of the operation is that electricity must be generated at the same moment as it used due to the current inability to store it effectively.
The power lines you see throughout the country that is being suspended above the ground with the help of tall metal towers is designed to carry and transport high voltage transmissions. This is important because at this stage the higher the voltage the more efficient as it transports throughout the network of power lines. Once the voltage passes through transformers the voltage is lowered to a level that is suitable to being distributed for safe usage.
History of the Electric Power Grid
During the early years of the 20th century the United States was powered by...

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