Year 4, Month 11, Day 4: Careful With That Axe….

The Boston Herald showcases the local ubermensch of National Grid:

The utility is “fundamentally changing how we operate” to address four areas of the global energy challenge: aging infrastructure, a revolution in energy supplies, extreme weather conditions, and an aging workforce and skills gap, according to Holliday.

The revolution in energy sources is being driven by aging power stations and wires, a growing realization of the impacts of climate and the need to reduce carbon emissions, and shale gas, according to Holliday.

The impacts of increasing extreme weather on National Grid were evident in 2011, when it “learned some hard lessons” responding to Hurricane Irene and an October nor’easter. “Our … restoration efforts were, frankly, disappointing,” Holliday said. “Our planning didn’t account for the magnitude of the logistical challenges hitting our electricity and gas networks simultaneously, across three states and numerous regions. We now look at future scenarios, which include events we haven’t seen before, to make sure we are better prepared.”

We all better hope so. October 25:

If we were serious about preparing for the future, Americans would be doing more to restore our crumbling electrical grid. As demand rises and infrastructure deteriorates, we can expect to see more system failures over the coming decades. Factor in the extreme weather brought by planetary climate change and you have a recipe for disaster.

Our current distribution system was built when we believed that energy from fossil fuels was both unlimited and cheap — two assumptions that have been effectively disproven. Oil and coal are revealed to be very expensive indeed once we include the costs of externalities like environmental damage, public health impacts, and the slow-motion catastrophe of global heating. Revamping the power grid from the bottom up with an emphasis on renewable energy sources — while focusing tightly on conservation, flexibility, and system-wide resilience — will save us trillions of dollars in the coming decades.

Warren Senders

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