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

Why Smart Meters Don’t Make A Smart Grid

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)

These transmission towers in Saint-Césaire, Quebec, collapsed during the ice storm of 1998 under the weight of the ice.

When The Largest Machine In The World Fails

If you could peer behind an electrical plug in your house, you’d find a massive network of transmission lines and power plants and a whole army of people bringing power to the socket in real-time, 24 hours a day. It’s the largest machine in the world: the power grid. Most of the time it operates invisibly, in the background, but when it fails, it often does so memorably. To most people, those outages seem like isolated events, but when you look at the trend, they’re not. (Blackout: Reinventing the Grid #1)