How we can climate-proof the power grid
That's former texas congressman. Beto aerobic on msnbc talking about the texas power grids failure during this week's extreme cold wave. I'm npr chief. Meteorologist paul hutton. Hutler today on climate cast. How do we climate proof our energy infrastructure going forward. This week's blackouts are just the latest example of how vulnerable are grits are two more extreme climate change driven weather events. She nazi is an assistant. Professor at purdue university school of industrial engineering hierachy welcome to climate. Cast thank you so much for having me. Start at this with compassion. Millions of our fellow americans without power heat water food even gas in subfreezing temperatures with that in mind. We much colder winters here. In minnesota than texas and our power grid is very reliable here in the winter. Why did the energy infrastructure in texas fail so tragically this week so it's not so much about the absolute values of the temperature. Right it's more about your region has been historically you still is just the fact that the temperatures really caught them by surprise. But i wouldn't say that. This story is unique to tax us. Well so on that point. Extreme cold isn't the only weather events challenging our grids. What other ways does climate change impact power so if you look on the power outage data collected by the department of energy but you can easily see First of all severe weather and climate events have been the major culprits for the large-scale sustain. Outages if you look at the data from early two thousands you see that there's actually been a three fold increase in the frequency and intensity of major power outages and exactly to your point. You know these extreme events can range from cold snaps to heat waves two hurricanes the wildfires. I mean there's no shortage of unfortunately You know natural disasters that hit our greg. So what are the best practices in hardening electric grids to climate change and extreme weather events. So there is really a number of different solutions. one micro-credits grids. They've been shown to have a positive impact on the overall resilience of the region during disasters Peres undergrounding some of the key. Assets and leveraging the techniques that we've already developed for other for seeing you know the impact on not only demand or physical infrastructure but also supply capacity prior to the onset of events roshii for people who aren't familiar. What are the benefits of micro grids so for example right now. What we're seeing in texas They're not able to balance the note right. So with micro grid not only it can alleviate note from the overall grid and allow the busing to happen a little bit more easily but also can sort of provides energy to stop off the customers trying to get to the source of what happened in texas and why it doesn't happen in other places right. Some people trying to falsely blame frozen wind turbines for power loss in texas but natural gas coal nuclear infrastructure accounted for eighty seven percent of the loss of generating capacity there. This week renewables just about thirteen percent is overall the shift to renewable also improving resilience. Absolutely there is plenty of evidence adds diversity and moving more towards renewables and distributed resources. Just improve the overall resilience not to mention the sustainability outcomes. Right while i'm grateful to everyone who plans and delivers energy to our homes than this week. So a big. Thank you to everybody who does that. She nateghi assistant professor at purdue university school of engineering. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective on climate cast. Today thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed speaking with you today. That's climate cast. I'm npr chief. Meteorologist paul hutton.