Commentary

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    Oct 06, 2003 | Damir Novosel
    The transmission grid that serves the eastern US and Ontario is congested by large power transfers from neighboring regions (to allow for open competition) and is vulnerable to disturbances. Although there is a tendency to point at a "single" event triggering cascading outages, major blackouts are typically caused by multiple contingencies with complex interactions.
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    Oct 03, 2003 | Peter Manos
    In 1964, the first astronaut who performed a space walk reported that as soon as he went outside his orbiting spacecraft, he noticed that the canopy of stars around him seemed to form a sphere, and no matter where he turned his head, he had the distinct, unshakable sense that he was at the center of the universe.
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    Sep 30, 2003 | Joseph Somsel
    To paraphrase an infamous Woody Allen quip about casual sex, economics is a social science, but as social sciences go, it's gotta be one of the best. Consider "negawatts" - a term coined by soft energy path guru Amory Lovins in the 1970's. Its economic logic is difficult to refute.
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    Sep 29, 2003 | Ken Reich
    With the advent of the "new economy," driven by a tsunami of IT wizardry and quantum leaps in biotech and healthcare advances, we take for granted those monolithic behemoths that spawned our industrial revolution. Improving quality of life 24/7, 365 days a year, these companies are imbedded in all corners of the civilized global village. But, by and large the consumer fails to take pause and devote so much as a nano-second of consideration to the ingenious inventions that for centuries have seemingly taken on a life of their own. Like our very biosphere, the utilities are out there doing their thing to enhance the quality of living. Improving the quality of life is a pretty heady claim. Think of it; what would we do without energy-related comforts and conveniences?
  • Sep 26, 2003 | Frank Gaffney
    On August 14, 2003, the lights went out for about 50 million people, covering an area from Cleveland to Ottawa to Connecticut to New York City and places in between. About 62 GW of electric power consumption was suddenly shut off in the span of a few seconds, making it the largest blackout in North American history.
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    Sep 25, 2003 | Douglas Wilson
    More than a month has passed, and the investigation into how and why the blackout happened is still in its early stages. Nonetheless, a few pieces of the jigsaw are in place, and we can start to consider underlying causes that might have led to this situation. Of course, there is still a great deal of work to be done in piecing together all the relevant events, and understanding the links between them.
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    Sep 25, 2003 | Colette Lewiner
    This summer, electricity questions and issues have been front page news and in August, millions of Americans and Canadians experienced a massive blackout.
    This seems incredible in developed and wealthy countries!
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    Sep 24, 2003 | Adam Lipson
    The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) Urgent Action Cyber Security Standard is intended to ensure ”that all entities responsible for the reliability of the bulk electric systems of North America identify and protect critical cyber assets that control or could impact the reliability of the bulk electric systems.”
  • Sep 24, 2003 | Scott Wilson
    The recent "blackout" in the Northeast and upper Midwest has set the stage for energy companies to rethink and adjust their current business approach in ways that provide significant opportunities to secure their current energy businesses and generate future growth by revitalizing consumer, investor and market confidence.
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    Sep 23, 2003 | William Molnar
    Traumatic events like 9/11, the anthrax scare, and, the recent Northeast blackout have sent fear and panic into the public, government, utilities and emergency infrastructure. These events have forced our governing bodies to take a closer look at our vulnerability.