NEWS Why America’s power grids will keep failing us (Salon)
Nicole Karlis, Salon.
Link to the original article in Salon, click here.
Wednesday marked the third day that many Texans found themselves without power following a rare winter storm and frigid temperatures dipping into the low 20s. While power is being restored in some areas, rotating outages are expected to start on Wednesday in Texas.
The situation is dire for many Texans. According to The New York Times, at least 23 people have died as of Wednesday morning. Emergency rooms saw a wave of people with carbon monoxide poisoning, the aftermath of attempts to keep warm. Likewise, clean water access is a growing issue as pipes freeze in the Lone Star State.
And Texas isn’t alone: As the remnants of the winter storm make its way across the Midwest, and a second winter storm looms in the Northeast, rolling power outages are popping up in parts of Missouri, Louisiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oregon. The situation is eerily similar to what happened in California last summer, when rolling blackouts were sparked by a demand-driven energy shortage; then, a massive heat wave increased air conditioner use and forced rolling power outages. Those blackouts were the first of their kind since 2001 when California faced an electricity crisis.
All these recent incidents are raising concerns over the fragility of the country’s fragmented power grid, and how vulnerable these systems are to extreme weather events compounded by climate change.
So what went wrong in Texas?