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The grid: After India, America? No, but still...

Aug 2, 2012
Carter Wood

The enormous power outage in India has focused attention (and anxiety) on the electrical grid as key infrastructure for economic growth. More than 600 million people without power for three days! 

A blackout of such scale could not happen in the United States. For one thing, we don't have 600 million people. And America's electrical grid is certainly much more resilient than the one in India, a still-developing country with ineffective governments.

Still, as The Washington Post reports today, "Aging power grid on overload as U.S. demands more electricity."

At CNBC, Jim Cramer asked Thomas F. Farrell II, Chairman, President & CEO of Dominion Resources, about India. Could the same thing happen in the United States? Farrell responded:

Our system has a lot more rigor to it and partly because we have reserve margins, meaning we have more power stations than we need to run at any particular moment in time, so that if a power station goes out, there's a back-up to help keep the grid stable. They don't have that much excess power in India, and when they get to the root cause, they'll probably find that was somewhere in there.

Other topics of the interview included Dominion Resources' plans to develop a liquefied natural gas export terminal at the existing LNG terminal in Cove Point, Maryland. (Washington Post editorial, May 6, 2012, "Cove Point means business.") Farrell also touched on coal, noting Dominion just put into operation a super-clean power plant in Virginia. See "Dominion Virginia Power Begins Commercial Operations At Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center."

Back to India's grid, two articles from The Economic Times: