Texas could repeat electrical crisis if extreme weather strikes this winter

Several areas of the United States are at risk of widespread power outages if extreme weather conditions strike this winter, according to an assessment by the nonprofit North American Reliability Corporation. Texas, which generates more electricity than any other state, could see many power plants. become inoperative with the right winter storm, causing demand for electricity to exceed by up to 37% what is being generated, according to the report. That means nearly half of the state’s electrical resources would not be able to meet customer demand, leaving millions of Texans in the dark – again. The sobering outlook comes after record high temperatures in February 2021 brought the state to its highest electricity demand on record as residents tried to warm up. power outages just when Texans needed power the most. More than 200 people died during the electricity crisis, the most common cause of death being the rmia hypothesis. A post-storm analysis released in November indicated that power plants were unable to generate electricity mainly due to natural gas issues and generator freezes. the events of last winter underline the need to air-condition critical infrastructures. “Extreme weather events, like that of February 2021, are unfortunately becoming more and more common and the power ecosystem must come together to plan and prepare to operate in more extreme conditions, longer duration and extended weather events.” NERC Chairman Jim Robb said. The central and northern plains could also be on the verge of having power shortages this season under extreme conditions. The ongoing drought in the west has taken a toll. many hydroelectric plants. And researchers predict that the Northwest’s energy reserves could drop as much as -1.5% in a record storm. NERC also warns that on-site fuel stocks for the plants electricity are below normal for this time of year. While this is not a problem at the moment, the ongoing energy crisis overseas and the supply chain rumbling viewing make it a topic to watch out for. The winter weather outlook is at least optimistic. average temperatures over much of the southeast and northeast from December to February. Temperatures in the southwest, southern and central plains, as well as the Ohio River Valley and the central Atlantic are expected to be slightly above normal. Meanwhile, the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies are expected to experience cooler than normal temperatures. But it’s important to remember that while the winter is warmer than normal for much of the country, spells of extreme cold can still occur at times. Look no further than last winter, when the southern plains witnessed a record deep freeze despite the expectation of above-average temperatures. In particular, Texas broke many records and cold temperatures crippled the power grid. Last winter saw the weather effects of a La Niña. And a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast was in line with typical La Niña expectations: cooler, wetter weather in the northern United States and drier, warmer-than-average temperatures in much of the region. southern United States. – January was the least La Niña-like pattern of the 13 moderate to strong La Niña from 1950. Why? Who knows ! But the influence of chaotic weather variability is still there. Yes, even during a La Niña, Mother Nature can just BE that way sometimes, ”meteorologist Tom Di Liberto wrote in March in a NOAA blog post.

Several areas of the United States are at risk of widespread power outages if extreme weather conditions strike this winter, according to a Evaluation by the non-profit North American Reliability Corporation.

Texas, which generates more electricity than any other state, could see many power plants go inoperative with the right winter storm, causing demand for electricity to exceed what is generated by up to 37%, according to the report.

That means nearly half of the state’s electrical resources would not be able to meet customer demand, again leaving millions of Texans in the dark.

The sobering outlook comes after record high temperatures in February 2021 brought the state to its highest electricity demand on record as residents tried to warm up.

To prevent the power grid from warping under stress, grid operators were forced to implement service outages when Texans needed electricity the most.

More … than 200 people died during the electricity crisis, the most common cause of death being hypothermia.

A post-storm analysis published in November said power plants were unable to generate electricity, mainly due to natural gas issues and freezing generators.

NERC, which regulates the bulk power system for all of the United States (including Texas) and Canada, says the events of last winter underscore the need for air conditioning critical infrastructure.

“Extreme weather events, such as that of February 2021, are unfortunately becoming more and more common and the electrical ecosystem must come together to plan and prepare to operate under more extreme, longer and more extensive weather events,” Jim , president of NERC. Robb said.

February outages could have been reduced by 67% in Texas simply by weathering four types of power plant components, according to the NERC analysis.

High risks outside of Texas

Other power markets in the central and northern plains could also experience power shortages this season under extreme conditions.

The drought in the west has affected many hydroelectric plants. And researchers predict the Northwest’s energy reserves could drop as much as -1.5% during a record storm.

NERC is also warning that on-site fuel stocks for power plants are below normal for this time of year. While not a problem at the moment, the ongoing energy crisis overseas and the supply chain make it a topic to watch.

Winter weather forecasts are at least optimistic

The NERC assessment coincides with the Climate Prediction Center winter weather forecast.

The CPC expects above average temperatures over much of the southeast and northeast from December through February. Temperatures in the southwest, southern and central plains, as well as the Ohio River valley and the central Atlantic are expected to be slightly above normal.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies are expected to experience cooler-than-normal temperatures.

But it’s important to remember that while it’s a warmer than normal winter for much of the country, extreme cold spells can still occur at times.

Look no further than last winter, when the southern plains witnessed a record deep freeze despite expectations of above-average temperatures. In particular, Texas broke many records and cold temperatures crippled the power grid.

Last winter saw the weather effects of a La Niña. And a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast was in line with typical La Niña expectations: cooler, wetter weather in the northern United States and drier, warmer-than-average temperatures in much of the region. southern United States.

“In fact, last December-January this was the least La Niña-like pattern of the 13 moderate to strong La Niña dating back to 1950. Why? Who knows! But the influence of chaotic weather variability is still there. Yes, even during a La Niña, Mother Nature can sometimes BE like this, ”meteorologist Tom Di Liberto wrote in March in a NOAA blog post.


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