Insecurity in the supply of electrical energy


Insecurity in the supply of electrical energy

Simon Bennett
Release Date:
Pages: 26
Published: 2011
ISBN: 9781907471230
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Insecurity in the supply of electrical energy

This monograph evaluates the consequences for ICT users of failures in the supply of electricity. As demand for electricity grows it is vital that the electricity generating industry expands its capacity. It is also vital that the networks (grids) that deliver that electricity are up to the task. There is talk in Britain of an impending ‘energy gap’ and in the United States of a grid at breaking point. Case studies illustrate the consequences for advanced societies of power outages. It is suggested that even the most comprehensive business continuity plans may be overwhelmed. It is concluded that the best way to secure the ICT systems of both the private and public sectors (including risk, crisis and disaster management ICT) is to maintain a reliable supply of electrical energy. Security of supply would also reduce the burden on crisis management agencies.

The private and public sectors must ensure that governments address the energy security issue. Governments must fully meet their public safety responsibilities by investing in resilient power generation and distribution systems. As evidenced by the generally successful response to the world financial crisis of 2008–10, governments are still the prime movers in maintaining stability. Governments’ empowerment of producers and markets within a de-regulated, laissez-faire world economic system should not be seen as an opportunity to scale-down investment in infrastructure. If the private sector is preoccupied with short-term gain, it is up to governments to invest for the long term (provided, of course, the required legislation can be voted through – not easy in coalition governments where parties may hold different views). Reports of the death of the post-war settlement are premature. Keynes’s ideas are relevant still.

About the Author
Simon Bennett has degrees in politics and communications, and a PhD in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (Brunel University, Middlesex). He directs the Civil Safety and Security Unit (CSSU) at the University of Leicester. CSSU has over 300 MSc students. As a human factors consultant to the airlines and the military, Dr Bennett uses action research and participant observation (ethnography) to improve communication and teamwork. He has spent circa 1,350 hours on the flight deck, and is familiar with the Boeing 737 and 757 and Airbus A300, A319, A320 and A321. His books include Human Error - by design? (Palgrave-Macmillan), A Sociology of Commercial Flight Crew (Ashgate), Innovative Thinking in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management (Gower) and How Pilots Live (Peter Lang).

 

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