Now more than ever, our power infrastructure is at risk. Significant power outages have risen from 76 in 2007 to 307 in 2011 largely due to aging and underfunded infrastructure equipment and systems.
ASCE’s Report Card for America’s Infrastructure in 2013 gave the United States a D+ in energy due to the nation’s reliance on an aging electrical grid and pipeline distribution system, some of which originates from the 1880s. Investment in power transmission has increased since 2005, but ongoing permitting issues, weather events, and limited maintenance have contributed to an increasing number of failures and power interruptions.
In this edition of the ASCE Interchange, Otto Lynch, F.SEI, F.ASCE, vice president of Power Lines Systems Inc., offers his insight into the issues surrounding our nation’s power grid.
“The biggest issue is congestion. We have a traffic jam going on just like in our cities but you just can’t see it. In order to eliminate that traffic jam, we need to build more transmission lines,” said Lynch who believes these challenges will only continue to increase as the population continues to grow.
He also explains the difficulties of underground power systems as well as some of the barriers that keep us from completely converting to sustainable energy sources.
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