For your entertainment, here’s an amusing link chain to follow about reactions to the power outages due to Sandy:
Insty says, “THE OTHER DAY, I WAS PRETTY HARD ON NICK KRISTOF for his dumb column trying to use backup generators as a sign that we need higher taxes. But not as hard as John Steele Gordon:” (follow the links!)
One of the interesting points is that people aren’t willing to pay the (very high) costs of hardened power transmission infrastructure – but as generator technology improves and the cost of buying a basic generator goes down, more and more people will simply be taking control of whether or not they lose power into their own hands, rather than depending on a utility company. I think this “Army of Davids” approach – putting the power to have power in individuals’ hands – is a good approach for the future. Especially if solar power technologies continue to improve – I live in an area where, if they were economically viable, putting solar shingles on our roof (and most of our neighbors’ roofs) would generate quite a bit of extra electricity. No trees or other tall objects shade the south side.
After all, one way to make the grid more secure is to turn it from one giant grid into a lot of tiny ones!