The outage struck shortly after 1 p.m. ET. A strong cold front and scattered thunderstorms moved through the region, including one that prompted a tornado warning for Fort Lauderdale, the National Weather Service reported.
If thunderstorms in Florida can wipe out power for millions of residents and businesses, what would happen if our electricity grid came under a terrorist attack? Isn't it scary that the US economy could get shut down in the blink of an eye if a few key targets were hit?
One of the reasons we have so many problems with our grid is that it has not kept up with the trends of other technologies, such as processing and computing power. Unlike computers today, which used to be centralized, power generation has failed to move towards a more distributed model. Some have put faith in huge batteries and generators for the solutions to our grid's woes, but to me thats not really a fix. My solution for this mess is very similar to something that was invented almost 100 years ago - detachment from the grid. Back in the early 20th century, famous inventor Thomas Edison's house actually ran on a gasoline generator that stored excess or unused electricity in a number of batteries for later use. Edison dubbed this invention the "Edison Twentieth Century Suburban Residence" and a report on it can be found in this 1912 New York Times edition. Unfortunately, sabotage ended Edison's dream of off grid power generation and storage, and also his campaign of electric vehicles against the internal combustion engine.
Today, there are options for homeowners who no longer wish to be slaves to our nation's electricity grid, which seems to be on its last legs. Companies like GridPoint offer appliances for both homes and businesses that work with renewable power sources such as solar and your connection to your utility to bring you a failsafe storage device for powering your home or business. Gridpoint's home storage solution won the endorsement by clean energy advocate and former CIA director James Woolsey, whom I met here in Pittsburgh last month. Mr. Woolsey, who is also an adviser to Gridpoint, told me he had recently purchased a system for his home in suburban DC and was very pleased with the decision as it holds promise to un-tethering all Americans from the grid. Almost 100 years after his invention of the off-grid residence, this would be an accomplishment would Mr. Edison, probably the earliest advocate of energy Independence, could be proud of.