Wildfires have once again spread across California...and millions of residents have been living without power for weeks. The deliberate blackouts by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, or PG&E, are an attempt to prevent power lines from starting new fires, a real possibility in dry and windy conditions.
Hundreds of the fires that started last year in California are believed to have been sparked by equipment from power companies — including the state’s deadliest fire. The Camp Fire was caused by a faulty electric transmission line. 85 people died and the town of Paradise was leveled.
Some have called for nationalizing PG&E to keep it accountable for the safety and maintenance of its equipment and the reliability of its service.
Across the country there's a patchwork of grids providing power to Americans, and *they* still mostly rely on fossil fuels to keep a steady flow of electricity. A couple of years ago, President Trump signed an executive order to speed up environmental reviews and approvals of infrastructure projects that are a high priority for the country, like making improvements to the grid.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has created policies to prop up financially struggling coal and nuclear power plants to ensure the electricity grid is resilient and reliable. But the main character in a new book by Wall Street Journal energy reporter Russell Gold looks beyond fossil fuels to power the grid. The book focuses on one man's mission to get more renewable wind energy online, and into American homes and businesses through transmission lines, and a more thoughtful connection of the nation’s grids. The book is called Superpower.
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