Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What if the entire country lost power?

Two weeks ago the power grid in northern India crashed leaving 370 million people without power for six to 12 hours. That more people than if the entire US and Canada went dark! And then a few days later, half the country lost power with over 600 million people affected.

India is used to daily power blackouts so "hospitals and major businesses have backup generators that seamlessly kick in during power cuts, and upscale homes are hooked to backup systems powered by truck batteries." Small businesses and the poor are not lucky and lack the funds for power backup. Some had to go without water as well pumps had no power to pump.

According to India’s Central Electricity Authority, demand for electricity during peak periods outstrips power generation by an average of 9 percent. So the system is overwhelmed and frequently fails, just not on the scale seen last month.  The government wants to spend $400 billion over the next five years on power-sector investment, adding 76 gigawatts of capacity by 2017. That’s on top of the 85 gigawatts of power India has added in the past 10 years. It's hard to keep up with growing demand.

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