The national election and the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy provide a double measure of poignancy to this week's issue—the fifth in ENR's critical-infrastructure series of special reports. This installment, planned months ago, focuses on the electrical grid. Although infrastructure had not been part of the political conversation prior to this storm of storms, we hope the disaster in the Northeast U.S. refocuses public concern.
With its twin assault of wind and storm surge, a tempest of this size and character is bound to cause widespread outages. Even the most modern smart grid can't function when large sections of distribution are destroyed. Substations, lines and switches soaked in saltwater cannot function.