U.S. power grid could be too big, on the verge of collapsing like pile of sand

Friday, April 25, 2014 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: U.S. power grid, infrastructure collapse, electricity

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
BACK INTO THE CLOSET: Why U.S. reporters are not allowed to write about rainbow events in nations where being gay is still condemned
Depopulation test run? 75% of children who received vaccines in Mexican town now dead or hospitalized
A family destroyed: Six-month-old dies after clinic injects baby with 13 vaccines at once without mother's informed consent
INVESTIGATION: Three days before Dr. Bradstreet was found dead in a river, U.S. govt. agents raided his research facility to seize a breakthrough cancer treatment called GcMAF
BAM! Chipotle goes 100% non-GMO; flatly rejecting the biotech industry and its toxic food ingredients
BOMBSHELL: China and America already at war: Tianjin explosion carried out by Pentagon space weapon in retaliation for Yuan currency devaluation... Military helicopters now patrolling Beijing
ECONOMIC SLAVERY FOR ALL: While we were distracted with the Confederate flag flap, Congress quietly forfeited our entire economic future via fast-track trade authority
March Against Monsanto explodes globally... World citizens stage massive protests across 38 countries, 428 cities... mainstream media pretends it never happened
GMO crops totally banned in Russia... powerful nation blocks Monsanto's agricultural imperialism and mass poisoning of the population
SCOTUS same-sex marriage decision may have just legalized the concealed carry of loaded firearms across all 50 states, nullifying gun laws everywhere
Nearly every mass shooting in the last 20 years shares one surprising thing? and it's not guns
Vicious attack on Dr. Oz actually waged by biotech mafia; plot to destroy Oz launched after episode on glyphosate toxicity went viral
Holistic cancer treatment pioneer Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez dies suddenly; patients mourn the loss of a compassionate, innovative doctor who helped thousands heal from cancer
Pepsi drops aspartame from diet soda as consumers reject toxic sweetener
Bride of Frankenfood: Hillary Clinton pushes GMO agenda... hires Monsanto lobbyist... takes huge dollars from Monsanto
STATINS RED ALERT: Widely prescribed drugs act as cellular poisons that accelerate aging... deactivate DNA repair... promote diabetes, muscle fatigue and memory loss
Wild eyes and bowl cuts: Why do mass shooters always share the same hair styles and crazed zombie stares?
Mind control through emotional domination: How we're all being manipulated by the "crisis of the NOW"
(NaturalNews) In a March 2014 report, The Wall Street Journal issued a dire warning about the nation's electric power grid.

"The U.S. could suffer a coast-to-coast blackout if saboteurs knocked out just nine of the country's 55,000 electric-transmission substations on a scorching summer day," Rebecca Smith wrote.

Indeed, as Natural News and other sites and publications have been reporting, there is increasing concern among U.S. policymakers, Congress and others that the nation's electric power grid is at risk of being crippled, either by direct cyber attack or by through the physical destruction of key transmission sites.

In fact, the power grid is as brittle as a sand castle, say a trio of researchers whose new study is sounding alarm bells in government and in the industry.

"Some 90 years ago, British polymath J.B.S. Haldane proposed that for every animal there is an optimal size -- one which allows it to make best use of its environment and the physical laws that govern its activities, whether hiding, hunting, hoofing or hibernating. Today, three researchers are asking whether there is a 'right' size for another type of huge beast: the U.S. power grid," says a news release describing the results of the study.

'Sand piles are stable until you get to a certain height'

University of Alaska physicist David Newman says he believes that smaller power grids would reduce the eventuality of severe outages, like the 2003 Northeast blackout that severed power to 50 million people in the U.S. and Canada for up to two days (extrapolate that out to 30-40 days or longer, in the nation's most densely populated areas, and you can get an idea of just how disastrous this can be, especially during periods of intense summer heat or winter cold).

Newman, along with co-authors Benjamin Carreras of BACV Solutions in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Ian Dobson of Iowa State University, made the case for their argument in the journal Chaos, which is produced by AIP Publishing.

The investigative examination began two decades ago, when Newman and Carreras were studying why stable fusion plasmas became so unstable so quickly. They modeled the problem by likening the plasma to a sand pile.

"Sandpiles are stable until you get to a certain height. Then you add one more grain and the whole thing starts to avalanche. This is because the pile's grains are already close to the critical angle where they will start rolling down the pile. All it takes is one grain to trigger a cascade," Newman explained.

While discussing a blackout, Newman and Carreras realized that their sand pile model might help explain the behavior of the nation's electric power grids.

North America has three grids, the researchers note, and they are interconnected systems that transmit power from scores of hundreds of power plants to many millions more customers. Each of the three grids are vast because the more plants and transmission lines in a grid, the better it can even out local power fluctuations in the supply and demand, or respond if some part of the grid happens to go down.

Then again, large grids are vulnerable to the rare but significant possibility of a grid-wide outage like that which occurred in 2003.

Or that could occur as a result of foul play.

'We can reduce the societal cost of failures'

"The problem is that grids run close to the edge of their capacity because of economic pressures. Electric companies want to maximize profits, so they don't invest in more equipment than they need," Newman said.

So, on hot days in particular, everyone's got the A/C running; at those times, grids are near peak capacity. Still, if a tree branch happens to knock down a transmission line, the grid is normally resilient enough to distribute extra power and make up the difference. But if the grid is already near its critical point and there is no extra capacity, there is a chance, however small, that it could collapse like a sand pile.

This vulnerability to cascading events comes from the fact that the grid's complexity evolved over time. Also, it reflects the tension between economic pressures and government regulations to ensure reliability.

"Over time, the grid evolved in ways that are not pre-engineered," Newman said. "If we reduce the number of connected pieces, maybe we can reduce the societal cost of failures."





Follow real-time breaking news headlines on
U.S. power grid at FETCH.news
Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...


Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.