THIS summer has exposed yet another aspect of the fragility of our traditional electricity
grid, with several failures in local distribution networks—the so-called ‘poles and wires’. As former ATA staffer Craig Memery has reminded us in a recent article (www.bit.ly/2HSHTao), the vast majority of power failures—97.2% on Craig’s figures—happen within local networks, with just 0.24% from insufficient generation.
Once again we face a choice between propping up traditional over-built
electricity supply infrastructure or driving transformation. The first involves inefficient capital investment in power lines and equipment capacity used for just a few hours a year; the second involves innovation with confusing options and other risks.