I’ve read and enjoyed each of your books, and I am an avid prepper — it’s only a matter of time before we have an economic collapse. However, I am having trouble connecting the dots between a collapse and the loss of the power grid.
Can you help me here, please? How does an economic collapse translate into the loss of the power grid? If I can fully understand this, I will prepare for the event by purchasing a biomass gasifier for my generator.
Thanks, – Richard M.
JWR Replies: The main triggers would be a disruption of rail traffic (that would idle coal trains, which currently move hundreds of millions of tons of coal each year) or if power utility employees fail to show up for work. I can foresee four reasons why electric power utility workers might not show up for work in the midst of an economic collapse:
1.) The employees aren’t paid regularly. (Due to a banking crisis or currency crisis.)
2.) The U.S. Dollar becomes worthless, due to hyperinflation. (And hence, the employee paychecks become worthless.)
3.) A nationwide gas and diesel fuel shortage keeps power utility employees from commuting to work.
4.) There are riots, looting, and massive street crime. Under those circumstances many utility workers won’t feel safe leaving their families at home, unprotected.
If there is insufficient staffing, power plants will shut down and the nation’s three power grids will collapse. Nuclear power plants will be among the first to go offline, since NRC regulations require nuke plant shut downs if staffing drops below a fairly high threshold. The last to go will probably be hydroelectric plants, since their staffing requirements are minimal. (The prevalence of hydroelectric power is yet another reason to move to The American Redoubt.)