My sister-in-law in San Diego sent me a message late last week after I tried getting in touch with her:
"Hey! We're in the middle of a rolling black out! The power is out in all of SD!…It's been 100 degrees for three days straight…Killed the power…"
The blackout lasted from Thursday afternoon to Friday morning and affected 1.4 million San Diego Gas & Electric customers.
The cause of the blackout was apparently traced back to a substation outage that caused a transmission line to shut off and trigger a cascade of blackouts that hit San Diego and also spread to parts of Arizona and Mexico.
More ammunition for the Smart Grid advocates, I'd say. One of the most important advantages of the Smart Grid is the elimination of these kinds of cascading blackouts. A Smart Grid would not only be "self-healing" but it could better isolate an outage, limiting the number of customers without power. San Diego's blackout, then, would have been avoided as the outage -- which originated in Yuma -- would have been isolated to Yuma.
Perhaps the building of the Smart Grid could be this country's New New Deal: An investment in an aging infrastructure that would position our country as leaders in energy efficiency. It would create jobs, cut down on greenhouse gases, increase national security. What's not to like?