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Grid power reliability: Do we take it for granted?

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Marcio Sanchez/AP/File

(Read caption) Half the lights are out in the Superdome during a power outage in the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game in New Orleans. Reliable electricity is something most of the world can’t live without, Tracey writes.

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Reliable electricity is one aspect of our daily lives that we sometimes take for granted.  And, when something happens that points out just how necessary it really is, we never seem to fully appreciate the role it plays in our daily lives.

Whether it’s a 34-minute power outage during the Super Bowl, or 670 million losing power in India, reliable electricity is something most of the world can’t live without.

In fact, just last week Senate Energy and Natural Resource ranking member Lisa Murkowski told reporters after she spoke at the NARUC winter meeting:

“Unfortunately for us, most of us take energy for granted. It’s just always there. You’ve heard me say it before: We’ve got this immaculate conception theory of energy. It just happens, the lights turn on, it’s the temperature we want, until it’s not,” she said. “I think [the blackout] helps to perhaps kick-start the debate.  You hate to think that something bad happens in order to get people’s attention, but I think people’s attention was focused last night.”

That’s why affordable, stable electricity from coal is essential to this country. We need this natural resource—there is more than two centuries of coal in the US—to keep the doors open at small businesses, power our hospitals and keep assembly lines running at manufacturing plants across the country.

Coal-based electricity is one of the least expensive, most reliable means of producing electricity, and it’s a central part of the American energy portfolio. Not only that, coal has a long history of providing energy to Americans.

America has depended on the reliable and abundant coal that comes from our land and powers our lives for more than a century. With the energy in America’s coal reserves being roughly equal to the world’s known oil reserves, it’s clear that coal should continue to be a reliable source of electricity for all of us.


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