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In addition, utilities are worried that another dangerous heatwave will bring challenges in keeping power flowing to customers.
Fires and Drought Challenge Utility Companies: The connected drought and fire conditions have also created challenges for utility companies to keep the electricity grid working. Grid operators are angling for better sensors to understand factors like wind speed and dried vegetation levels, which would allow them to cut power on a line if needed to prevent sparking a fire. It’s an important consideration: Pacific Gas and Electric, California’s largest utility, said its equipment may have been the spark for the Dixie Fire currently burning near the 2018’s Camp Fire that PG&E also caused.
On the supply side of things, the high temperatures and drought have reduced hydropower capabilities. Just last week, California called on residents to reduce their energy use when demand was expected to be highest. The Pacific Northwest heatwaves mean that California’s neighboring states aren’t sending any additional power down, and wildfires have threatened transmission lines running between states.
“The exceptional fire weather this year and in recent years does not represent random bad luck,” Jacob Bendix, a Syracuse University professor who specializes in the study of wildfire distribution, told the L.A. Times. “It is among the results of our adding carbon to the atmosphere — results that were predictable, and indeed that have been predicted for decades.”
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Hurricane Nicholas hit the Texas coast yesterday as a category 1 storm, bringing heavy rains and 75 mph winds. Rapidly intensifying from a tropical storm to a hurricane before making landfall, Nicholas gained 35 mph in wind speeds in a single day. There have been six Atlantic hurricanes so […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Days after Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, energy company Entergy can’t say when New Orleans residents will get power back. In addition to the direct health harms that can come from losing AC when the heat index is over 100, the lack of power has also made it harder to […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer Tens of thousands have evacuated Lake Tahoe as the Caldor wildfire charges towards the resort town. The raging Caldor Fire has burned 277 square miles since it began in early August and has threatened 20,000 structures, burning 600 to the ground. The fire has stagnated at less than 20% containment. […]
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