US preparing for a rolling blackout

The US heating season has officially begun and new analysts’ estimates shock the American public: 25% of Americans will face energy emergencies this winter if temperatures fall below average due to a shortage of fossil fuels

US preparing for a rolling blackout

The latest report from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the regulatory agency that governs electric grid stability, says that power grids from the Great Lakes to Louisiana, New England, the Carolinas and all of Texas are at greatest risk of winter power outages.

NERC experts believe that a sudden cold spell over an extended period could strain the power grid amid a surge in demand for electricity from households and businesses. This would lead to more rapid consumption of natural gas, coal and standby diesel generator capacity and subsequent power shortages.

NERC’s director of energy system reliability assessment, John Moore, quoted:

“The trend is that we’re seeing more nodes at risk, we’re seeing more incidents of failures, of critical elements that have reached the end of their useful life. We have big problems with fuel, but we are doing everything we can. These problems don’t just appear out of nowhere.

The fuel situation in the United States is as follows. Demand for diesel is up, but supplies on the East Coast are at an all-time low for this time of year. The shortage of fuel used to keep the economic system running, from basic heating to trucking, has left about 25 days of stock in storage. Any disruption in fuel supply could lead to power outages this winter.

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association chief executive Jim Matheson was quoted as saying:

“Demand for electricity will exceed the available supply during peak winter conditions. Our consumers will face the unthinkable and real threat of rolling blackouts. It shouldn’t be like this. But in the absence of changes in state and federal energy policy, this is the reality we will face in the coming years.”

Let’s move on to the statistics.

The average American household is expected to pay 47% more for electricity than a year ago, and at least 20 million households are likely to owe utility bills.

Electricity supply is expected to be most strained in the central US, run by the Independent System Operator Midcontinent.

The fact is that a large number of generators were shut down in these states last winter. In addition, power plants on the Gulf Coast are not immune to sudden cold spells.

Then there is New England, made up of six states in the northeastern US – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont – which will face natural gas shortages due to inadequate pipeline infrastructure.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Commissioner James Danley quote: 

“There is a very real possibility that New England could face dire consequences this winter.”

This is what the accelerated decarbonisation of the United States electricity sector has led to.

It is one of the main reasons why America’s electricity grid has become less reliable than ever before.

Solar and wind power are incompatible.

Europe has already realised this.

Now it’s the turn of the US to find out who Father Christmas is and what his citizenship is!

Vladimir Karasev, specially for News Front