A recent DNews video asks, "Do you know how your power gets to you?" In the wake of this year's Super Bowl blackout, host Trace Dominguez explains the fundamentals of alternating current, power generation and voltage differences around the world.
Despite the complexities of the U.S. power grid, an Amazon engineer wrote recently that several large diesel generators could have prevented the blackout at New Orleans' Superdome. According to Wired, "the NFL could have avoided its blackout black eye for the price of about two-and-a-half Super Bowl ads."
Yet, as NRDC Executive Director Peter Lehner explained recently, diesel engines are "a major contributor to climate change." They are responsible for nearly a quarter of global emissions of black carbon, which is the "second largest human-made contributor to global warming."
The cause of the Super Bowl power outage isn't entirely clear, but several sources, like the stadium's energy efficiency measures and Beyonce's halftime show, were quickly blamed. ThinkProgress notes that the blackout was also offered as a reason to expand domestic fossil fuel production and as a defense of the coal industry.
It has been more seriously suggested that infrastructural improvements and an improved, smart grid could have prevented the interruption.