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Blackout possible this summer due to heat and extreme weather, officials warn




Extreme temperatures and ongoing droughts could cause the power grid to span large areas of the country this summer, potentially leading to power outages and power outages, a U.S. power grid regulator said Thursday. (Frederic J. Brown, AFP, Getty Images via CNN)

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ATLANTA – Extreme temperatures and ongoing drought could cause the power grid to stretch over large areas of the country this summer, which could potentially lead to power outages and power outages, a US power grid regulator said on Wednesday.

NERC, a regulatory authority that oversees the health of the country̵[ads1]7;s electrical infrastructure, says in its 2022 Summer Reliability Assessment that extreme temperatures and ongoing droughts could lead to power outages. High temperatures, the agency warns, will cause demand for electricity to increase. Meanwhile, drought conditions will reduce the amount of power available to meet this demand.

“The industry is preparing the equipment and operators for challenging summer conditions. However, persistent, extreme drought and its accompanying weather patterns are out of the ordinary and tend to put additional strain on electricity supply and demand,” said Mark Olson, NERC’s Head of Reliability Assessments.

On Thursday, NOAA’s climate prediction center encouraged almost the entire cohesive United States to experience above-average temperatures this summer.

The power grid is extremely sensitive and the power supply must always meet the power demand, experts warn. Failure to do so may result in capacity failure. A shortcoming is when not enough power is generated to meet demand.

Forced power outages, also known as rolling power outages, are initiated during these situations – which are what millions of Americans risk seeing this summer – to prevent long-term damage to the network.

But power grids are also exposed in the winter. In February 2021, Texas witnessed the highest demand for electricity ever as residents tried to keep warm.

To prevent the power grid from bending during the strain, network operators were forced to implement rolling outcomes when Texans needed power the most.

More than 200 people died during the power 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 natural gas problems and freezing generators.

NERC says that large parts of North America will have sufficient resources and electricity available this summer, but several markets are in danger of an energy crisis.

The Upper Midwest and Mid-South along the Mississippi River will experience the highest risk this summer, warns NERC, where retirement of old power plants and increased demand are troublesome. Furthermore, the region is without a central transmission line that was damaged by a tornado in December 2021. Texas, the west coast and the southwest are at increased risk.

In addition to extreme weather, supply chain problems and an active forest fire season will further include reliability this summer, the assessment warns.

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