Shoddy infrastructure could lose businesses money

Unless the UK and the USA invest in their supply infrastructures companies can expect an increase of power blackouts in the coming years, which will have a negative impact upon […]

Register now!

By Tom Gibson

Unless the UK and the USA invest in their supply infrastructures companies can expect an increase of power blackouts in the coming years, which will have a negative impact upon business.

Allianz say that the increasing amount of renewable technologies coming onto ageing networks is a recipe for disaster. Risk experts are saying companies need to prepare better for likely blackouts to mitigate their losses. Michael Bruch, a risk consultant for AGCS said: “Smart grids with metering, communication and control technologies and new storage and transport capacities are needed to handle the growth of renewable energies.”

Ageing supply infrastructures can trigger knock-on effects, which may result in blackouts in neighboring grids too. According to the study the 2003 blackout in North America caused an economic loss of between $4-8 billion. Allianz warns that even limited outages have a significant economic impact – equivalent to an estimated loss of about €350,000 per event in steel works or about €6 million per hour in financial trading.

The study also warns of another potential trigger for blackouts- within the next two years geomagnetic induced solar flare storms, following an 11-year cycle are expected to peak again in 2013. These storms can severely damage high-voltage transformers whose repair can take days or even weeks.