India’s Massive Blackout

On Tuesday, Delhi and most of Northern India experienced one of the world’s worst power outages in history that has left more than 600 million stranded and without electricity.

According to National Geographic, rail service was halted, streets were clogged at intersections with darkened traffic lights, and people sweltered without air conditioning in temperatures about 90°F (32°C), as authorities worked to restore power and pinpoint the cause of the problem. The outage that began Monday lasted 15 hours, and only shortly after service was restored, at 1 p.m. Tuesday, a far larger system collapse swept across the nations’s northern and eastern grids.

The government quickly announced it would appoint three-member panel to study the causes of the massive failure and submit a report within 15 days. But observers have long warned that India faces a major energy challenge, with its economy growing at a rate of about 9% annually, while 56% of households in rural India – some 400 million people – have no access to electricity at all.

Supposedly, Delhi’s power outage is not that unusual. Even the largest of India’s cities has their fair share of darkness. However, with the per capita energy consumption quickly growing, India needs to generate more power and deliver it more efficiently as soon as possible.