“At least a dozen US states from California to the Great Lakes are at risk of electricity outages this summer,” Bloomberg reported Sunday.
The report cited a recent assessment from the North American Electric Reliability Corp. that much of the U.S. population is likely to suffer brownouts, blackouts and other disruptions in power during the hottest days of the year this summer.
While the eastern United States is largely expected to have sufficient operating reserves, most of the rest of the country is at elevated or high risk of power supply issues this summer, NERC said.
One of the states named in the report is California, where power outages have been a problem for years. In 2019, millions of residents suffered from blackouts as the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. was forced to switch power on and off over and over again to ease the strain on the grid.
Hydropower is also lacking in the West this year as an extended drought has kept river waters lower than usual, Bloomberg said.
In fact, the California Independent System Operator warned that the drought might put hydropower at risk through 2025, the outlet reported earlier this month.
The Golden State could be short up to 1,700 megawatts this summer, enough power to run 1.3 million homes.
Attempting to head off the problem, California officials have ordered power companies to buy thousands of watts in supplies, including banks of solar batteries, the power from which can be used during the overnight hours.
The state is also floating a new program that would pay customers for using less power during the peak energy hours of the day.
Texas is also at risk of blackouts, according to the report. It also experienced power outages last year, and that problem has not been fully resolved, experts say.
But parts of the Midwest could be facing the greatest threat, with the NERC assessment putting many of those states under “high risk” status.
“On the 15-state grid operated by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), consumers in 11 states are at risk of outages,” Bloomberg reported. “MISO, which serves about 42 million people, projected it has ‘insufficient’ power generation to meet the highest demand periods this summer, especially in its Midwest states. “The grid has never before given a warning of this kind ahead of the start of summer demand.”
“It’s a pretty sobering report, and it’s clear the risks are spreading,” John Moura, NERC’s director of reliability assessment and performance analysis, said in a recent news briefing, according to Bloomberg. “I certainly do think it’s our most cautionary tale here.”
While some experts also blame climate change for these power supply issues, the bigger problem is that liberal energy policies are closing older, stable coal-fired power plants at a faster clip than so-called renewable energy, such as wind farms, can replace them.
“The pace of our grid transformation is out of sync,” Moura said about the closing of coal plants.
Bloomberg noted that coal power plant shutdowns have reduced power output in the Midwest by 2.3 percent over last year. And this at a time when many areas there are experiencing a population boom.
In addition, America’s power infrastructure is aging and in disrepair. “About 70 percent of our grid is nearing end of life,” warned Teri Viswanath, lead economist for power, energy and water at CoBank ACB, according to Bloomberg.
Viswanath said this is one reason the United States “is experiencing more outages globally than any other industrialized nation.” Green policy is also a major contributor to America’s power woes.
According to The Wall Street Journal, California, Texas and Indiana are likely to face power outages as green energy “solutions” are taking precedence over tried-and-true sources of energy.
The nation’s devolving economy under President Joe Biden is also causing a problem for the energy industry, the report said, noting that many power companies cannot finish their build-out of battery storage facilities because of “supply-chain challenges and inflation.”
Forbes Editor-in-chief Steve Forbes explained that government policy failures are part of the problem. “The problem isn’t that we’ll be experiencing an unforeseeable surge in electricity; it’s that bad government policies have created shortages,” Forbes wrote earlier this month.
“Chief among these are the mandates that utilities use more and more so-called renewable sources of energy — primarily from windmills and solar panels — while pressuring them to shut down fossil-fuel-fired generating plants and to decommission nuclear facilities,” he added.
“The trouble is that alternative energy sources are expensive and pose their own serious environmental hazards,” Forbes said. “And they are not replacing the output of power that those closed traditional facilities produced.”
So, at every turn, policies pushed by Biden and his green allies are putting the nation at greater risk of blackouts and power shortages.
It’s long past time to stop pie-in-the-sky dreaming about green energy and get back to the business of fueling our nation.✪