Despite promises of improved infrastructure and better disaster preparedness, governments and energy giants are failing to provide backup energy provisions to areas hit hard by extreme weather conditions again and again. As these events are becoming more frequent and stronger, how will the energy industry prepare for the future of energy provision?
The ongoing discussion over energy infrastructure resilience which is brought up year after year peaked in February in the U.S. as Texas battled against a severe winter storm that saw the electrical grid shut down and thousands of buildings lose power. Many across the state had to rely on generators to heat their houses to escape freezing temperatures for up to a week.
A significant proportion of energy production in the U.S.’s biggest oil state came to a halt following the storm, having a knock-on effect on energy output levels for the rest of the spring. Oil production is thought to have dropped by around 1.2 million bpd due to freezing pipelines and a lack of electricity to key infrastructure.
But could all of this be avoided had the U.S. government and big oil invested in its aging infrastructure long ago? Earlier this year, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s energy infrastructure a C-rating score, suggesting the need for significant improvement to prevent future production cuts and potential disasters.
Since his inauguration, President Biden has pointed towards his $2 trillion infrastructure plan as the answer to the problem. As well as fixing tens of thousands of roads and bridges, enhancing the country’s transportation links, the plan also intends to improve energy infrastructure and water pipelines across the U.S. over a timescale of eight years.
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