Video: Reliability Lost

on June 03, 2011 at 12:40 PM

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

When this video was filmed, most of the US power grid was already more than 50 years old, and concerns about technological innovation and investment levels in the electricity sector were intensifying.

So far so good. The depressing thing about the video is that it is now rapidly aging itself – it was shot shortly after the August 2003 blackout that swept the Northeastern US and temporarily focused public attention on the centrality and the vulnerability of power systems across the country.

The video, which comes from Siemens, discusses the use of high-voltage direct current transmission projects, in this case highlighting one that transports power from New Jersey to Long Island.

Proposals continue to swirl and occasional, often lagging, investments are made, but the themes remain depressingly similar. The major technology changes of the past ten years seem to have largely swept by much of the energy sector, and investment has been of the patchy and intermittent variety.

Watch a warning about the future, from the past.