Thursday, December 21, 2006

Power Outages: another argument against sprawl

Power outages that have plagued western Washington after the December 15 2006 windstorm could be used to illustrate a problem with sprawl. It's a problem with low density development where houses are spaced far apart among a lot of large trees. Power lines have to be strung long distances to service each resident.

It seemed like most of the denser, more urban neighborhoods didn't suffer outages, or the outages were shorter lived. In denser neighborhoods, lines are less vulnerable to large trees. Also there can be more redundancy in lines so if one goes down, power can be rerouted over an alternative path; sort of like how the Internet works.

This is another reason to encourage more compact development.

Image from my mimeographed newsletter of 1981.

1 comment:

Theslowlane Robert Ashworth said...

Thanks to the reader who sent me editorial from Dec 17 Corvallis Gazette-Times explaining why underground power lines are not used that often. Cost, maintenence issues. Editorial concluded with a plug for solar energy. Collectors on roofs mean less dependency on the power distribution network.