Power blackouts around the world are set to become the norm as growing demand for electricity and a lack of adequate investment catch up with aging infrastructure, say academics in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
The Western world must abandon the idea of uninterrupted electricity supply as the blackouts become more frequent and severe, according to the study by the University of Auckland and the UK's University of Lincoln.
"Infrastructural investment across Europe and the U.S. has been poor, and our power generation systems are more fragile than most people think," Auckland University Associate Professor of Sociology Steve Matthewman said in a statement Monday.
"The vulnerability of our electricity systems is highlighted by one particular blackout which took place in Italy in 2003, when the whole nation was left without power because of two fallen trees."
Government advisors in Britain had given frequent warnings about future blackouts from as early as 2015 and the American Society of Civil Engineers had warned that U.S. generation systems could collapse by 2020 without 100 billion U.S. dollars of new investment in power stations.
China, Brazil and even New Zealand had also had significant power failures.
Despite New Zealand having an 80-percent renewable energy supply, climate change was expected to bring less rain and less snow, both of which would have negative impacts on hydroelectricity.
But guaranteed electrical power was under threat because of resource constraint, with the depletion of fossil fuel reserves and the transient nature of renewable energy sources
The Western world also relied on aging systems, said the study, citing data showing almost three quarters of U.S. transmission lines were more than 25 years old