The Organic Network Is Robust And Adaptive

Paul Phlip at Long Harvest notes an oped in the NYT on the electric grid by Steve Stogratz. Stogratz makes some really important points in his argument, including the fact that we should think about the grid in a more organic and less mechanistic way, and that we should abandon the unrealistic idea about total control and perfectibility.

We need to stop pretending that the grid is ever going to be a perfectible machine. Just as bacteria eventually develop resistance to the antibiotics used to kill them, the defense of the grid will require ever-more inventive strategies on our part. We should recognize that the power grid needs to evolve and adapt, just like any other successful living creature.

And we should ask what kinds of policies and regulatory environments help, and hinder, the innovation and dynamism that enables interconnected networks to be more adaptive and robust. The regulatory environment that is the product of the past 85 years has created a very maladaptive, rigid system.