5 Threats to Our Power Grid

Massive Power Outages Left Thousands in the Cold

The brutally low temperatures of this past winter revealed what I’ve been sharing with my readers for more than a year now. That our power grid is strained to the breaking point.

To illustrate this fact, just look at Texas. A bout of freezing weather – unusual for Texas, but not unheard of – left workers at power plants scrambling. Power production dropped by 3700 Megawatts because of the cold weather.

Combine that with increased demand, and the Lone Star State nearly had to face rolling blackouts. Blackouts that would have left thousands with only intermittent access to power – or no power at all. That’s a dangerous situation when you consider the temperatures.

Crazy Weather Strands

Thousands Without Power

During December and January, much of the country faced subzero temperatures. Not just freezing, but dangerously cold. Some states cancelled school. The roads were fine, but officials feared for the safety of the children. It was dangerous for them to wait for the bus in such extreme cold.

I even saw a headline comparing the lows in some areas to the high temperatures on Mars. Now that’s cold!

An onslaught of winter storms caused multiple blackouts during the season.

One December storm left nearly half a million people without power. Thousands were in the dark for Christmas.

More storms followed in January triggering power outages around the nation too numerous to list. Southwest Virginia … St. Louis, Missouri … Pittsburgh. Power outages affected thousands all across the nation.

Perhaps the biggest outage came in early February. In the northeast, bad weather knocked out power to one million people.

Five Reasons Our Power Grid is Failing

Every year, bad weather brings down parts of the power grid. On average, it is taking utilities more time to restore power during such events. And power failures due to extreme weather have been on the rise in recent years.

But bad weather isn’t only one threat to the power grid.

Rising energy consumption is another threat. Any time there is a spike in demand – when people, en masse, switch on their heat in cold weather or crank up the AC in hot weather, for example – rolling blackouts become a danger.

Energy consumption in the U.S. will rise around 50% over the next 30 years. That will strain the power grid to the breaking point if we don’t expand our capacity.

Unfortunately, government policies – another factor in grid stability – contribute to the danger. The Obama administration’s heavy-handed treatment of the coal industry is hobbling one of our most reliable sources of energy.

Another threat to the grid is the aging infrastructure. The power grid is old. Utilities simply don’t have the money to bring our power grid into the modern age.

These four factors leave our grid vulnerable to the fifth and most dangerous threat: a hostile attack. Whether it’s an electromagnetic attack, a cyber attack, or a physical attack, it’s possible for terrorists to bring our grid to its knees.

Plan for Personal

Energy Independence Now

Should the grid go down, due to rolling blackouts, a short-term power outage, or because of an attack, you’ll be in a better position to handle whatever comes if you have a backup plan in place for your power usage.

Step one: Make a list of everything you rely on power for. What on that list is most important? Sure TV is nice. But being able to keep food or medicine in cold storage is critical. Having access to a light when it’s dark outside is important. But the ability to heat your home in the cold is a life-saving skill. Communication … cooking … hot water … energy is crucial to them all.

Determine your top five most important power uses. Start there to make your backup plan. Find a grid-independent way to do each. Make sure your backup plan will cover your power needs for at least a couple of weeks. With that plan in place, you’ll be well on your way to declaring your personal energy independence during those times that you simply can’t rely on the power grid.

P.S. A backup generator is one of the best long-term solutions to a grid collapse. The problem is they suck down fuel like a Humvee and they’re noisy. They attract attention. Fortunately, there’s a fuel-efficient, completely silent alternative. Details here.