Power generation & transmission

Safety and reliability of power supplies

By Claire Marchand

Hurricane Sandy, which hit the US Eastern seaboard, after having wrecked devastation in many countries and islands in the Caribbean region, offered a stark reminder of the central role played by electrical power in society today.

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Storm-related power cuts left more than 7,4 million homes and businesses without electricity in and around New York City, and knocked out mass transit transportation along a wide swath of the eastern US.

This unprecedented outage brought home to many that water and gas supplies, heating, transportation and many other services and activities depend totally on electrical power.

Sandy destroyed transmitters, downed overhead power lines and flooded underground cables and other systems showing that failure of a single link in the entire power generation, transmission and distribution chain can bring the whole system down.

This issue of e-tech looks at various aspects of this chain. It focuses also on renewable energy sources, such as hydropower, and its role in electrical energy storage, as well as marine and wind energy. The activities of IEC TCs (Technical Committees) involved in hydropower, marine and wind energy are also detailed.

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claire_marchand Claire Marchand, Managing Editor of e-tech