The U.S. electric grid continues to be a major point of concern. A recent study warns that two-thirds of the U.S. is at risk for electricity blackouts this summer.
“Overall, the biggest thing is that is the loss of nuclear and coal plants that those provide the U.S. with what’s so called as baseload power, which means that when the sun isn’t shining or there’s a drought, we still have a supply of power in the U.S., this could have sensibly be replaced by natural gas,” Breanne Deppisch, Energy and Environment Reporter of the Washington Examiner, told The Daily Wire. “We just don’t have enough of that in the U.S. right now.”
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) put out its most recent reliability assessment for this summer. It turns out more states are at risk of rolling blackouts than was previously thought. The NERC report found that the midwest and south, is at a “high risk” for blackouts this summer and areas of the west, including Texas, are at an “elevated risk”.
A rolling blackout is a blackout done intentionally so that the grid isn’t harmed in the long run. This happens when there’s not enough power being created to meet the high demand. Rolling blackouts have happened in California for a few years now. In Texas, there was the historic freeze in 2021 where lots of people were without power.
In Texas, ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, handles the state’s entire power grid, which includes electricity generators. It’s an independent nonprofit regulated by the Public Utility Commission, whose board members were appointed by Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX). The generators sell power to electric providers who sell it to the customer.
ERCOT recently said that the grid is stable and that it should be able to supply enough energy “under normal system conditions” and most times of high demand during the summer and some extreme weather conditions, but at the same time, they did ask people to conserve power and told some of their energy generators to hold off on maintenance which would require plants to go offline.
“This is part of ERCOT and the PUC being more proactive, more communicative with Texans, to make sure that everybody knows the situation on the grid and what they can do to help ensure reliability,” PUC Chairman Peter Lake said during a press conference
“We got through last summer, we got through last winter, and we’re going to get through this summer — we are better prepared than we have ever been before,” Lake said. “That’s how we can say with absolute confidence to Texans the lights will stay on this summer.”
Above average temperatures are expected for much of the U.S. this summer which puts stress on the grid, plus a 22-year drought in the west will cause hydro generators to release lower than average energy production; wildfire season is expected in the late summer months and will also contribute more to power issues.
A lot of the problems have to do with environmental policies and priorities that don’t always line up with the reality of the situation.
Some are calling for funding from the huge infrastructure package to go towards fixing the grid, because energy isn’t just an issue in the summer. This isn’t a problem that’s going away anytime soon.