Home Uncategorized The blazing heat wave in the Northwest highlights the fragility of our power grid

The blazing heat wave in the Northwest highlights the fragility of our power grid

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The blazing heat wave in the Northwest highlights the fragility of our power grid

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The record-breaking heat wave sweeping through the northwestern United States provides the latest example of our inadequate preparation for the deadly challenge of climate change.

The triple-digit temperature in many areas has caused soaring energy demand and pressure on the grid as residents turn on fans and air conditioners—in many cases, newly purchased units where they were rarely needed in the past.At least thousands of households have power outages Portland, Seattle with elsewhere In the past few days, potentially dangerous conditions have been created at temperatures that can easily cause heat stroke or more severe.

Observers worry that as temperatures rise this week and heat waves spread to other areas, there may be more widespread power outages.

Climate scientists, climate change is driving more and more frequent, extreme and persistent heat waves around the world Consistently foundIn this case, the high-pressure ridges parked along the Canadian border formed the so-called thermal dome, trapping the hot air in the area extending to Northern California and eastern Idaho.

California Grid Operator Announce They may call for voluntary reductions in electricity consumption on Monday, as the temperature in the interior of the state is expected to reach around 100 degrees, causing a shortage of supply.

Arne Olson, senior partner of the consulting firm Energy and Environmental Economics Inc., said that although the main concern is the surge in demand when residents call air conditioning, the heat itself will also disrupt the grid in other ways.Will reduce the efficiency of the power plant, overheat the transformer and cause the power line to sag, which will lead to Brush tree And caused a power outage.

California faces additional challenges, as there is less hydroelectric power available than usual Extreme drought conditionsOlsen added that, in addition, because the heat wave is affecting such a large area of ​​the country, operators of the western interconnected grid may not be able to count on excessive supply from other regions.

Jane Long, former deputy director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, said that in many ways, what we see is a power system built mainly for the past climate, and the current climate is more and more in line with the current climate. struggle.

Strengthen our power system to deal with increasingly frequent or severe extreme weather – whether it’s the heat wave this summer or Last winter’s storm-Major upgrades to the U.S. power grid will be required, including: shifting to a modern transmission and distribution system;weathering”Power generation resources such as wind turbines or natural gas power plants; and increase more energy storage.

It also requires the development of a variety of power plants, which can Provide a stable supply Long said, in any weather or at any time of the day. As regions become more dependent on wind and solar energy with a growing share of volatility, this will become even more tricky. Research by Long et al. have discovered States will need to include additional carbon-free energy that can provide on-demand output, such as geothermal, nuclear, hydrogen, or natural gas plants, and their systems can capture climate emissions.

We still need More and more efficient with Climate friendly The form of the air conditioning system.

Soaring temperatures and severe drought conditions also increase the risk of fire, which requires Additional power system changes and considerations, Including: buried wire, installation of modern wire That off When an interruption is detected, a distributed power generation and storage system is constructed.

Stacey Champion is a community advocate who has tracked the number of indoor heat deaths in Arizona and Arizona. He said that power outages are not only inconveniences during heat waves, but also quickly become fatal because heat exhaustion can turn into heat stroke. . Promote local utilities Suspend the power off during the high temperature period. “It’s called a silent killer,” Champion said.

In fact, heat waves kill more Americans than hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes combined. Children, the elderly and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable.

The study found Deaths and diseases caused by soaring temperatures will only increase as climate change accelerates.



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