Powerage16 Aug 2003
As Lilli noted, the US blackout was the top story in the German media today, with special broadcasts, the top 3 slots on Spiegel Online, and the whole bit. That seems strange to me, since the blackout is a purely domestic story, but I guess it does come with good footage. The title on ARD, 'Amerika ohne Strom', was just a tad overdramatic, and a reminder that German reporters rarely venture outside New York and Washington. Maybe for them New York City is all of America.
The other theme was <a title="Strom in Deutschland: "Unser Spinnennetz ist engmaschiger" - Wissenschaft - SPIEGEL ONLINE" href="http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/0,1518,261324,00.html">'it can't happen here', that such a long and wide-ranging blackout is extremely unlikely in central Europe. They didn't really explain why it can't happen here, except to claim that the electicity network is more modern, is less centralized, and has more reserve capacity in Europe than in the northeastern US. I did notice that during the heat wave (which broke here yesterday), nuclear plants in Germany, including our local plants on the Elbe, actually cut back on production. This was in order not to exceed limits on the temperature of water they returned to the environment, which in some cases was cooler than the water they were taking in.
And the reports smugly noted that per-capita electricity usage here is half that of the US. They didn't bother to compare prices.