- Reporter's Notebook: Do We Need This Much Energy?
Millions of American households have TV-s, electric can openers, computers and, of course, air conditioning. If we weren-t so dependent on electrical power, yesterday-s blackout would not have been so disruptive-if it occurred at all. Author Kirkpatrick Sale, who has written about the industrial revolution and about those opposed to technological change, says we squander huge amounts of energy at the expense of our spirituality.
Blackout on the East Coast
Though not the result of terrorism, it did demonstrate the vulnerability of America-s most vital infrastructure. In just three minutes, 21 power plants shut down, leaving 50 million people without electrical power--and it was all triggered by an event that lasted just nine seconds. The exact cause of yesterday-s massive blackout has still not been determined, but energy experts have been warning for years that such an event was bound to happen. In the past 10 years, the demand for power has risen by 30 percent, while our transmission capacity has gone up only half that much. How could so widespread an outage have been triggered so quickly? Could it happen again tomorrow? We look at yesterday-s massive blackout and what it means for the future with energy reporters, researchers and major players in the utility industry.