Experts warn Power Grid is under strain “reliability is going to be difficult

FILE PHOTO: Overhead power lines are seen during record-breaking temperatures in Houston, Texas, U.S., February 17, 2021. REUTERS/Adrees Latif//File Photo

Important Takeaways:

  • Vast swath of U.S. at risk of summer blackouts, regulator warns
  • A vast swath of North America from the Great Lakes to the West Coast is at risk of blackouts this summer as heat, drought, shuttered power plants and supply-chain woes strain the electric grid.
  • A historic drought is covering the western US, limiting supplies of hydroelectric power, and forecasts call for a hotter-than-average summer. But the fight against global warming poses its own risks as older coal-fired plants close faster than wind farms, solar facilities and batteries can replace them.
  • “The pace of our grid transformation is out of sync” with the physical realities of the existing power network, Moura said.
  • Supply-chain snags, meanwhile, are delaying Southwest solar projects and Texas transmission lines, while coal plants are having trouble obtaining fuel amid increased exports. And power grids face a growing threat of cyberattacks because of US support for Ukraine following the Russian invasion, according to NERC.
  • California’s grid operators, in contrast, have warned that the state faces a risk of blackouts during the next three summers as the state shifts to cleaner energy.
  • “We know that reliability is going to be difficult in this time of transition,” said Alice Reynolds, president of the California Public Utilities Commission

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