June 30, 2022

Extreme temperatures and ongoing drought could cause the power grid to buckle across vast areas of the country this summer, potentially leading to electricity shortages and blackouts, a U.S. power grid regulator said on Thursday.

Officials warn of power outages this summer due to heat and severe weather

A regulator of the American power grid said, Thursday, that extreme temperatures and persistent drought may cause the power grid to be disrupted in large areas of the country this summer, which could lead to electricity shortages and blackouts. (Frederick J. Brown, AFP, Getty Images via CNN)

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Extreme temperatures and persistent drought could cause the power grid to be disrupted across large areas of the country this summer, a regulator said on Wednesday, which could lead to power shortages and blackouts.

NERC, the regulatory body that oversees the health of the country’s electrical infrastructure, says in its Summer 2022 Reliability Assessment that extreme temperatures and persistent drought could cause the power grid to crash. The agency warns that rising temperatures will lead to higher demand for electricity. Meanwhile, drought conditions will reduce the amount of energy available to meet this demand.

said Mark Olson, director of reliability at NERC Ratings.

On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center invited nearly the entire contiguous United States to experience above-average temperatures this summer.

Experts warn that the power grid is very sensitive and the electricity supply must always meet the demand for electricity. If not, a capacity deficiency can occur. A shortage is when there is not enough energy being generated to meet the demand.

Forced blackouts, also known as blackouts, are initiated during these situations — which millions of Americans risk seeing this summer — to prevent long-term damage to the grid.

But the power grids are also vulnerable in the winter. In February 2021, Texas experienced the highest electricity demand ever as residents attempted to heat their place.

To prevent the power grid from twisting under stress, grid operators had to implement rolling outages when Texans desperately needed power.

More than 200 people died during the electricity crisis, with the most common cause of death being hypothermia. A post-storm analysis released in November indicated that power plants were unable to produce electricity primarily due to problems with natural gas and generator freezes.

NERC says much of North America will have sufficient resources and electricity on hand this summer, but many markets are at risk of an energy emergency.

The upper Midwest and south-central along the Mississippi River will face the highest risks this summer, NERC warns, as the retirement of old power plants and increased demand are alarming. Furthermore, no major transmission line in the area was damaged by a hurricane in December 2021. Texas, the West Coast and the Southwest are at high risk.

In addition to severe weather, supply chain issues and an active wildfire season will also involve reliability this summer, the assessment warns.

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