America’s Emerging Energy Crisis, by Matthew Kandrach

The U.S. electrical grid is old and dilapidated. Don’t expect anything to be done about that until the grid fails catastrophically. From Matthew Kandrach at realclearenergy.org:

The warning signs are everywhere.  We are stumbling toward an energy crisis that is likely to be far more severe and long-lasting than the upheavals of the 1970s.  And no, this isn’t about Russia or Ukraine. This is about the perilous state of the U.S. electricity grid.

If action isn’t taken soon to address the unraveling reliability of the grid, the United States will face the specter of rolling blackouts, factory shutdowns, loss of jobs and soaring electricity bills. Our organization CASE recently released a policy brief highlighting just how dire the situation is.

Events In recent years show how serious the situation is.  According To the Wall Street Journal, outages have gone from fewer than two dozen major disruptions in 2000 to more than 180 in 2020. The catastrophic blackouts that gripped Texas for a week in February of last year should have been eye-opening. Now, warnings from regulators, grid operators and utilities suggest far worse is coming.

There’s no getting around it. The nation’s electricity transmission system is growing increasingly undependable. Aging infrastructure, severe weather, and the rapid pivot away from baseload power to intermittent solar and wind are all contributing. Supply chain problems and local opposition to building new power lines and siting renewable projects are also turning into increasingly tall hurdles. Expectations of increased demand driven by electric vehicles are only compounding the challenge.

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