- The Washington Times - Friday, May 20, 2022

Extreme heat and drought could tax the power grid and lead to blackouts this summer, federal officials are warning.

Higher temperatures will result in great demand for electricity that could be tough to meet, according to an assessment from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. Droughts will also mean less water for hydroelectric power production.

“Industry prepares its equipment and operators for challenging summer conditions. Persistent, extreme drought and its accompanying weather patterns, however, are out of the ordinary and tend to create extra stresses on electricity supply and demand,” said Mark Olson, NERC’s manager of Reliability Assessments, in a CNN report.

Regulators said Americans may face forced outages, or “rolling blackouts,” to avoid long-term demand to the grid if power cannot consistently keep up with demand.

The Upper Midwest and mid-South near the Mississippi River are particularly vulnerable, NERC said, because old power plants were retired and there is increasing demand. A key transmission line was also damaged in a December tornado.

Texas, the West Coast and the Southwest also face higher risks, the regulators said.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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