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Why This Matters:Electricity is essential. Whether it’s keeping the AC running on a 100-degree day or powering a medical device, people need reliable electricity to survive. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, 14 Louisiana deaths were connected to the power outages and intense heat. Like many climate-driven actions, seeing the cost to make necessary changes often deters action from leaders, but the cost of inaction is much higher. In New York, one of the few states to run a climate assessment of its grid, a report priced heat-related climate risks at up to $4.6 billion by 2050.
The lack of action isn’t because of a lack of solutions. Moving power lines underground is one answer. Burying lines can increase the power system’s resilience across the country and would mean a lower risk of sparks igniting wildfires in California. Without lines and poles that can topple, lights are more likely to stay on in hurricane-force gusts as seen in North Carolina. But the work can cost millions of dollars per mile, giving opponents the easy argument that it’s too expensive.
Another potential solution is the implementation of microgrids, which power a smaller geographic area than the entire system. Using solar power and battery storage, they can run independently of the broader grid. Microgrids were used during COVID-19 to keep the lights on in hospitals serving multitudes of patients under the threat of wildfire outages.
In the aftermath of a climate disaster, “everybody’s standing around saying, ‘Why didn’t you spend more to keep the lights on?’” Ted Thomas, chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission, said in an interview with the Washington Post. “But when you try to spend more when the system is working, it’s a tough sell.”
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer Cities across the US are transitioning their buildings to clean energy, which would mean banning natural gas in new construction and promoting electric appliances. But the question remains whether or not infrastructure — foundational and historic — is ready to handle such a demand for electricity. Why this […]
As more people around the nation are taking to the roads and skies for their vaccinated vacations, one car rental company is making it easier for folks to not only travel in style, but travel green. Hertz has announced that it will be purchasing 100,000 Tesla electric vehicles by the end of 2022 alongside an […]
We sat down with Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) to talk about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) or “Hot FERC Summer,” as we like to call it. According to Rep. Casten, though FERC is often thought of as “a sleepy agency that is, frankly, kind of nerdy” — it can be a powerful force to […]
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