Power Grids Feel the Pressure of Intense Storms

Environment: NPR


Hurricane ida crumpled a major transmission tower. That survived katrina sixteen years ago building infrastructure. That strong enough is hard when the target keeps moving because storms are getting stronger energy consultant alison silverstein says utilities and their regulators can take planning cues from murphy's law. We need to assume that everything possible that could go wrong is going to go wrong. Simultaneously and murphy is always gonna win. President biden's climate plan includes a much bigger role for electricity electric cars. For example cutting carbon footprint says easier with electricity from emission free sources like wind solar and nuclear. But even those have to stand up to extreme weather putting wires underground may seem obvious but engineering professor destiny. Knock at carnegie mellon university says that won't always work in hurricane country where you might have under grounded. The lines to protect them from wind putting them underground makes them more susceptible to flooding knock. Says it's never just one thing that's going to keep the lights. On energy experts. We interviewed agree on a few basic ideas though. They say the grid should be more decentralized so the whole thing doesn't shut down at once. More generation out in communities such as solar power would accomplish that but new orleans utility energy has resisted calls for just that to the frustration of local activists at mit engineering professors. Or up. a mean says not all the fixes are technical. He says power companies also need to become more agile and do more when responding to storms the fact that some utilities are not able to sort of respond immediately is also another kind of failure which is perhaps as drastic as the infrastructure. Failures is assuming outages will happen. Amin says utilities should focus more on dispatching generators even before a storm to make sure important facilities and vulnerable populations get electricity restored as soon as possible. All this cost money that usually ends up in utility bills. Congress is working on major funding through infrastructure bills. That could address some of these issues. There also focused on president. Biden's climate goals including zeroing out greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector by twenty thirty five.

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