A man reads the newspaper by flashlight during the Northeast Blackout in August 2003.
AP Photo/Joe Kohen
Fifteen years after the Northeast Blackout of 2003 cut power to 50 million people in the US and Canada, experts explain that many threats to the electricity grid remain.
The high-voltage lines carrying electricity across the U.S. aren’t the only potential targets.
Power utilities' cybersecurity practices may be effective, but need to evolve over time. And all companies operating elements of the grid – even the small ones – should step up.
Who’s in control of what’s flowing in these wires?
D Sharon Pruitt
Experts explain the task of securing the electrical grid against cyberattacks, and discuss potential solutions and the risk of failure.
“No Linky” posters in Montreuil, near Paris. The first one reads “Linky: You can say no.” The second reads “Linky spies on your private life.” Some residents fear data surveillance rather than looking at possible advantages of smart meters.
A recent study suggests that smart meters can help households reduce their electricity use by as much as 5%. Are France’s anti-Linky households listening?
Block Island Wind, the first offshore wind energy project in the U.S., started operation in 2016.
A recent survey of electric utility leaders finds that Trump administration efforts to promote coal energy and roll back air pollution regulations have had little impact on their long-range plans.
Hackers can interfere with everyday efforts to keep the lights on.
It's easier to see how customers benefit from increased grid security than it is to justify making them pay for it.
Construction at Plant Vogtle, Georgia, Dec. 1, 2014.
Nuclear power provides 60 percent of US carbon-free electricity generation, but existing plants are aging and only one is under construction. Should government intervene to keep nuclear energy in the mix?
Solar home designed by University of Maryland students for the Department of Energy’s 2017 Solar Decathlon.
DOE Solar Decathlon
Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the US needs to subsidize nuclear and coal power plants to keep the grid stable. But this policy would raise energy costs and could drive consumers off-grid instead.
The imposition of steep duties on imported solar panel components could jeopardize thousands of jobs in the industry.
A trade spat could jack up the cost of going solar, killing jobs and obstructing efforts to do something about climate change.
The first U.S. offshore wind farm, near Block Island, Rhode Island, started delivering commercial electricity in December 2016.
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
When utilities plan investments, they think decades ahead. A recent study shows why power companies should be spending more on renewables despite the Trump administration's tilt toward fossil fuels.
Cholla power plant near Joseph City, Arizona, photographed on Jan. 16, 2010.
Coal-fired power plants produce air pollution that kills thousands of Americans every year. President Trump's embrace of coal energy will delay a shift to cleaner fuels that is saving money and lives.
When it comes to TV use energy, calling one household ‘average’ can be misleading.
Evert F. Baumgardner - National Archives and Records Administration.
People who watch a lot of TV consume a disproportionate amount of electricity so we should tailor energy efficiency incentive programs to these and other big energy users.
Energy network owners are frequently using legal battles to draw out the regulatory process.
Generators, retailers and consumers should be central to regulating utilities because network operators are gaming the system.
Solar power in suburbia: what’s not to like?
Utilities are pushing back against the spread of rooftop solar power and charging bigger fees to solar homes. Who is right in this solar-versus-utilities fight?
Supreme Court ruling allows consumers and businesses to make money by reducing power and other grid services.
An obscure Supreme Court ruling paves the way for people and businesses to earn money with distributed energy technologies.
Rooftop solar panels: will they kill power companies or can they help them?
Many utilities see rooftop solar as a threat, but solar power can actually lower the cost of power they – and their consumers – need to pay during hours of high demand.
Now regulated for carbon emissions.
How the US ended up regulating carbon emissions using the 1970 Clean Air Act rather than a national cap-and-trade emissions trading system.
Lots of wind blowing – often at night when there’s little demand for power.
Smoothing out variable wind and solar is a growing problem. Instead of storing energy with batteries, utilities can adjust the power of millions of devices in buildings and homes.
With rooftop solar installations soaring, utilities are nervous – for a few reasons.
Electric utilities want to quash distributed solar because they don't want the competition, right? Perhaps, but if you rely at all on the grid, you have a stake in this fight, too.