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Electricity Losses State By State: Interactive

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As part of our IE Questions project, Inside Energy investigated how much energy is lost as electricity travels from a power plant to the plug in your home. In the U.S., five to six percent of the energy in electricity is lost during transmission and distribution, but that varies widely state-to-state and year-to-year. See how your home state measures up. Continue Reading →

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Lost In Transmission: How Much Electricity Disappears Between A Power Plant And Your Plug?

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How much energy is lost along the way as electricity travels from a power plant to the plug in your home? This question comes from Jim Barlow, a Wyoming architect, through our IE Questions project. To find the answer, we need to break it out step by step: first turning raw materials into electricity, next moving that electricity to your neighborhood, and finally sending that electricity through the walls of your home to your outlet. Continue Reading →

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Hacking The Grid: Rural Colorado And The Realities Of Cybersecurity

Steve Metheny, of the Delta-Montrose Electric Association, illustrates the utility's back-up to the back-up, a floor to ceiling map of their service area and infrastructure.

Cybersecurity experts like to divide the world into two categories: Those who have been hacked, and those who have been hacked but just don’t know it yet. As the electric grid gets digitized, it becomes increasingly vulnerable to hackers. We know hackers are getting onto the grid. So how big of a threat do they really pose? Continue Reading →

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What A Storm 93 Million Miles Away Means For Your Power


Our most important piece of infrastructure--the grid--is also the most vulnerable to an unpredictable, strange kind of weather. Severe solar storms could knock out power to millions of Americans. And critics say new regulations don't go far enough to protect the grid. Continue Reading →

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IE Questions: What Keeps Our Electric Grid Humming?


Remember the 90s action movie Speed? The electric grid, our country’s biggest machine, is basically the bus from the movie. The grid runs at a specific speed – its frequency – and if it gets too high or too low, the system wants to explode. Luckily, the electric grid has its own Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, built right in, to keep it vibrating at the right speed. Continue Reading →

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Texas Weighs Waste


Nuclear waste is not popular in any neighborhood. In West Texas, there’s a battle underway over a plan to create a above ground storage facility for high level waste. Its a bigger problem than West Texas - the nation’s nuclear power plants are quickly running out of room to store the waste. This region has had a long and often contentious relationship with nuclear waste, stretching back to a years-long battle over a planned permanent waste site in the 1980’s and 90’s. Opponents eventually won that fight, but a different site was later built in the Permian Basin. Continue Reading →

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Why Smart Meters Don’t Make A Smart Grid

Power transmission lines march across the Shirley Basin in central Wyoming.

In 2009, President Obama promised to modernize the electric grid, using stimulus money. The new power grid would be smart and efficient, bringing the tech revolution to electricity. It would incorporate more renewable energy. It would have the ability to fix blackouts more quickly. And, it would save customers a whole lot of money. So whatever happened to that plan? (Blackout: Reinventing the Grid #3) Continue Reading →

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