Heat Wave Pounds Western Power Grids

July 10, 2021

I’ve been concerned about this for months. Heat stresses every point on the power grid, and the drought puts pressure on hydro, reducing the backup cushion. We saw what happened when the Texas grid failed in February. Summer’s just getting rolling – Could get ugly.

Bright spot is that the NBC spot above at least mentioned the contribution of climate. I listened to an entire ABC segment that treated it as merely a weather report.


California ordered a stage-2 power-grid emergency — one step away from rolling blackouts — as a searing heat wave drives temperatures into triple-digits and sends demand for electricity soaring.

The state’s grid operator called for the measure as wildfires — including the Bootleg Fire in south-central Oregon — threaten transmission lines bringing power into California. It comes as a historic drought grips the Western U.S. and temperatures reach record levels in parts of the region.

The threat of blackouts underscore the power grid’s increasing vulnerability as climate change disrupts weather patterns and signal that shortfalls may continue this summer. Last August, California suffered its first rolling outages in almost two decades after hot weather sent electricity demand soaring beyond supplies. Parts of Washington and Idaho recently lost power as all-time high temperatures battered the electricity system.

Excessive heat warnings cover most of California and parts of Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Arizona. The California Independent System Operator, the state’s power grid manager, on Friday issued a statewidealert asking consumers to voluntarily cut back on power use. The state on Thursday asked businesses, farms and residents to voluntarily cut wateruse by 15% as drought emergency declarations cover 50 of 58 counties.


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