Experts Warn of Rough North American Winter

( – Biden administration agencies are now warning that certain power grids may not hold up to a severe winter weather season. Typically the government puts out statements regarding summer weather and power disruptions due to the increased electricity use for air conditioners and the like. The North American Energy Reliability Corp. (NERC), is the group charged with monitoring the country’s electric grids.

On November 8th, NERC published their “2023-24 Winter Reliability Assessment” which stated that a large swath of the country has substandard power grids. The report states that grids from Texas to the U.S.-Canadian border are in jeopardy. They blame local underinvestment and negligence on the part of local politicians. NERC had warned during the summer that two-thirds of the power grids were susceptible to failing due to the seasonal weather.

In February of this year the government agency known as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a new set of winter reliability standards for U.S. generators. NERC has asked FERC for additional regulations to be instituted in response to 2021’s Winter Storm Uri. NERC’s director of reliability assessment and performance analysis, John Moura, believes if all the new regulations are adopted it will be a “positive development” in preparing for winter weather.

NERC has acknowledged they cannot accurately forecast what the winter weather will look like. In response to issues with last year’s frost, voters in Texas recently approved a measure to fund more power generators. NERC officials praised the vote but warn they will still be susceptible to shut downs this winter due to lack of available power.

Legislative director at the International District Energy Association and president of engineering and consulting firm FVB Energy, Mark Spurr, concurs with NERC and FERC, calling a grid disruption “inevitable.” Spurr says “severe weather events” related to climate change will increase demands beyond what the grid can handle.

On the other side of this issue, The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has been alerting people that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) newly proposed climate fighting regulations are hampering power grid effectiveness. The government has proposed new limits on gas and oil-fired power plants as well as greenhouse gas emissions from coal, both of which limit the effectiveness of power grids.

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