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Why Grid Spending Needs to be a Priority in the United States


24 April 2023

Stephanie Taylor

The debate over increased spending on our nation’s aging power grid system emerged recently as we dealt with increased storms and other aging grid-related events.

Now that the US government shutdown is resolved, it is high time that the grid spending issue is addressed. As with any power system that generates electricity, it requires regular maintenance and updates to remain productive.

Power outages are a significant cause of loss of income for almost every business, and it’s also inconvenient–and sometimes life-threatening–events for consumers. Americans rely on electrical power daily, from electric pumps that pump water to a well keeping us cool in the summer, not to mention all forms of electronic communication. Most of us do not think about what it will take to keep that flow of power coming in the future.

American homes and businesses lose power an average of 1.2 times per year, for an average of two hours for each occurrence. The power grid system comprises a complex set of power generation sources such as gas and coal-fired plants, hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, and solar.

The idea is to get the power from the sources to the end user with power stations, substations, and underground wires. The grid channels the power to the end user through computer-generated switches and power stations to move energy where the demand is for that particular day.

Spending money to fix an aging grid system is estimated at 21 billion per year for the next 20 years to get the grid technology up to speed with the ever-increasing demand and threats to our system.

Grid technology upgrades are necessary, as we depend on these grids to function, live, and work. After a computer glitch caused the blackout of 2003, some spending increases were implemented; however, it wasn’t nearly enough to fix the problem.

Electrical engineers have determined that a significant overhaul of the system must begin before we encounter other major grid breakdowns soon. The question that we, the consumer and our government officials, need to ask ourselves now that the shutdown is behind us is, “What is the cost of not upgrading the current system?”

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