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Plugging Into the Future: Smart Grids
(Released November 2009)

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  by Marianne Stanczak  

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Picture if you will a hot, sunny August afternoon. The day is going well, until suddenly, inexplicably, the power goes out. And stays out. No traffic lights, no TV, no computer. No air conditioning. And no one you know has power. No one. This scenario is not so hard to imagine if you were one of the several million people on the east coast during the Blackout of 2003. Due to the heat of the day, a power line sagged into a tree, which in turn caused an outage. And somehow, that caused another outage, and another—a domino effect. This took place on Aug 14, 2003 and affected over 55 million people (45 million across eight northeastern and midwestern U.S. states and 10 million in Ontario, Canada.) The question of the day, and during the weeks to come, was: how could this could have happened? In such a technologically advanced time where anything is possible . . . how was this? And more importantly, what can be done to stop it from happening again?

pedestrians in dark city
New York City in the 2003 blackout

Go To Enter the Smart Grid

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