Power Grid Down: How To Prepare, Survive & Thrive After The Lights Go Out Chapter 2 Excerpt:
Weather Disaster, Solar Flares, and EMP Attacks
The power grid has morphed in size tenfold during the past 50 years. While solar flares, cyber attacks, and an EMP are perhaps the most extensive and frightening threats to the electrical system, the fragile infrastructure could just as easily fail in large portions, due to weather-related events. The power grid is basically a ticking time bomb which will spawn civil unrest, lack of food, clean water, and a multitude of fires if it does go down.
Weather-related events were the primary cause of power outages from 2007 to 2012, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers infrastructure report card. Power grid reliability issues are emerging as the greatest threat to the electrical system. The ASCE grade card also notes that retiring and rotating in “new energy sources” is a “complex” process.
Freezing temperatures across the United States during the winter of 2013-14 placed an extraordinary burden on the power grid – and in some places have served as a reminder of its vulnerabilities. It became so cold that cargo ships are getting caught in a frozen Detroit River, forcing them to rely on icebreakers. In the South, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) issued an Energy Emergency Alert 2 on Monday as the state’s main power grid barely avoided overwhelming outages. The level two alert is the final step in the process before rotating power outages are implemented.
Weather-related issues caused the loss of two big power plants that totaled an approximate 3,700 megawatt power decrease. ERCOT was urging citizens to conserve power. ERCOT’s Dan Woodfin told the media that the loss of just one more large power plant could have “pushed the grid over the edge.”