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Americans Face Elevated Winter Power Outage Risks From Tight Fuel Supplies, Faltering Grid: Report

Americans Face Elevated Winter Power Outage Risks From Tight Fuel Supplies, Faltering Grid: Report

As the snow flies and temperatures plummet, regulatory agencies and analysts alike warn that residents in multiple U.S. states are at an elevated risk of dangerous winter blackouts.

States such as Texas and North Carolina, and also the Great Lakes and New England regions are in the highest risk category, according to a report from the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC).

Meanwhile, a “large portion” of the U.S. power grid is at risk of insufficient electricity supplies during peak winter conditions, the agency concluded in the same analysis.

Although climate change advocates claim that severe weather events are the primary culprit, energy insiders say tight fuel supplies and an outdated electric grid play a critical role in potential blackouts.

Epoch Times Photo
People take shelter at Gallery Furniture store after winter weather caused electricity blackouts in Houston, on Feb.18, 2021. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

Conservative estimates this year put the cost of critical power grid and infrastructure upgrades at $4 trillion, with the use of supplemental nuclear power; the price tag jumps another $500 million without nuclear energy.

The Biden administration approved a $13 billion stopgap measure on Nov. 18 to “modernize and expand” the power grid. However, people in the energy industry say it will take months or years for U.S. residents to see the difference.

Falling Behind

“There is a significant gap to upgrade aging grid infrastructure to meet net-zero mandates and maintain reliability, and we are running out of time,” analyst Kim Getgen told The Epoch Times.

Getgen is the CEO and founder of Innovation Force, which tackles complex issues such as America’s energy crisis. She says the Biden administration’s infrastructure investment is a good start, but it’s exactly that, just a start.

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German Disaster Official Recommends Stockpiling ‘Several Crates’ Of Water, Canned Food

German Disaster Official Recommends Stockpiling ‘Several Crates’ Of Water, Canned Food

The head of Germany’s Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief (BBK), Ralph Tiesler, has warned citizens to prepare for short-term power outages, particularly in January and February, and to stock up on rations in advance.

We have to assume that there will be blackouts this winter. By that, I mean a regional and temporary interruption in the power supply. The cause will not only be energy shortages, but also the targeted, temporary shutdown of the networks by the operators, with the aim of protecting the networks and not endangering the overall supply,” Tiesler told the news outlet Welt am Sonntag, adding that local authorities in several German municipalities are preparing for the possibility of blackouts, and have developed ‘precise plans’ that include procuring emergency generators to support the system.

That said, some municipalities are not prepared – and despite German gas storage facilities being near capacity, experts don’t think the stockpile will be enough to last the country through the winter due to a lack of new supply from Russia.

“We expect short-term blackouts rather than long-lasting, large-scale blackouts. But good preparation is important for that, too,” Tiesler added.

Ralph Tiesler

What to do? Stock up…

“Primarily water, several crates, and canned food. That would be enough for ten days. That’s what my agency recommends… Our message is: prepare in the first place. Be prepared for possible crises, don’t assume that everything will be readily available all the time,” Tiesler stated, adding that residents should also purchase battery-powered radios and candles.

Germany’s energy woes stem from a drop in gas supplies from Russia, after an ill-advised scheme to shut off their nuclear power plants. The flow of gas was cut off much earlier than expected over Ukraine-related sanctions, as well as explosions in September which rendered the Nord Stream 1 pipeline inoperable.

Power Blackout Risks Loom For Quarter Of All Americans

Power Blackout Risks Loom For Quarter Of All Americans

The US heating season has officially begun, and new warnings show that a quarter of all Americans could experience energy emergencies this winter if temperatures fall below average due to tight fossil fuel supplies.

Power grids from the Great Lakes to Louisiana, New England, Carolinas, and all of Texas are the most at risk for power supply shortfalls during high-demand periods, according to Bloomberg, citing a new report from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a regulatory body that manages grid stability.

NERC said a cold snap for an extended period could spark grid strain due to soaring power demand from households and businesses. This would cause supplies of natural gas, coal, and backup diesel generators to draw down more quickly and possibly experience shortages.

“The trend is we see more areas at risk, we see more retirements of critical generation, fuel challenges and we are doing everything we can. 

“These challenges don’t kind of appear out of nowhere,” John Moura, NERC’s director of reliability assessment, said during a media briefing.

For instance, the demand for diesel is rising, but East Coast supplies are at record lows for this time of year. Shortage of fuel used to power the economy, from heating to trucking, has about 25 days left of supplies in storage. Any supply disruption could leave power generation plants with supply gaps this winter.

Jim Matheson, chief executive officer of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, told Bloomberg that electricity demand is set to outpace “available supply during peak winter conditions, consumers face an inconceivable but real threat of rolling blackouts.”

Matheson warned: “It doesn’t have to be this way. But absent a shift in state and federal energy policy, this is a reality we will face for years to come.”

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“Ferocious Fiona” Makes Landfall In Canada, Leaving Hundreds Of Thousands Without Power

“Ferocious Fiona” Makes Landfall In Canada, Leaving Hundreds Of Thousands Without Power

Powerful storm Fiona battered eastern Canada on Saturday with hurricane-force winds and torrential rains, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power.

The National Hurricane Center said Post-Tropical Cyclone Fiona made landfall early Saturday morning on the northeast corner of mainland Nova Scotia. It added Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 81 mph, peaking at times of over 100 mph.

Canadian Hurricane Center said Fiona was one of the lowest pressured land falling storms ever to hit Canada. For some context, lower the pressure means stronger the storm.

As of 0800 ET, the storm was 160 miles northeast of Halifax, packing winds of 85 mph and barreling north at around 23 mph.

According to Nova Scotia Power, over 400,000 people across the province of about one million were without power as of 0800 ET.

… and there goes the internet.

Social media users tweeted footage of the damage left behind by Fiona.

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Get ready for blackouts from London to LA, as the global energy crisis overwhelms grids and sends energy prices skyrocketing

Get ready for blackouts from London to LA, as the global energy crisis overwhelms grids and sends energy prices skyrocketing

Illuminated Buildings By River Against Sky During Sunset
Part of Manhattan without power, seen from East River Houses. 
Jonathan Percy/EyeEm/Getty Images
  • Climate change and soaring energy prices could make widespread blackouts more common, even in wealthy nations.
  • Californians narrowly averted statewide blackouts, and Britons impacted by the war in Ukraine will soon pay nearly double for electricity.
  • As energy costs soar higher, a new age of rolling outages and grid instability looms large.

Stock up on batteries, candles, and non-perishable snacks. Blackouts are coming.

For the first time in decades, the western world is preparing for widespread and rolling energy shortages. The US, UK, and EU have all been squeezed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, soaring costs for electricity and fuel, and record-breaking heat waves. While fall is just around the corner, the worst of the energy strain is likely still to come.

Even wealthy nations won’t be spared, at least without broad broad policy change and private-sector overhauls. Add in the accompanying economic costs and extreme health risks, and you have a very difficult situation.

In California, it will materialize as outage warnings and restrictions on your air conditioning. Then in coming years, Texans, Illinoisans, and Missourians will join the suffering of their west coast peers amid sweltering heat and rolling blackouts.

And across Europe and the UK, residents not used to heat waves will either face skyrocketing energy bills or dangerously hot summers — a situation made worse by their reliance on Russian gas, the flow of which has been essentially cut off entirely.

In the US, climate change risks decades of ‘extreme danger’

Amid record-high temperatures on the west coast Tuesday afternoon, California’s grid operator ISO urged residents to limit their energy use and cautioned that rolling blackouts could arrive.

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“Blackouts Imminent” – 75,000 Powerless As Record California Power Usage Sparks ‘Demand Response Event’

“Blackouts Imminent” – 75,000 Powerless As Record California Power Usage Sparks ‘Demand Response Event’

Update (2030ET): As was expected earlier, California power usage surged to a record high this afternoon raising the emergency status of the state’s electrical system to the highest possible level amid a blistering heat wave, which means rolling blackouts are imminent.

This triggered a “demand response event”…

And CA ISO is warning of more “blackouts imminent”.

“This is going to be so dicey,” Michael Wara, director of Stanford University’s climate and energy policy program, said earlier in the day.

“There’s a gap for two hours in the evening right now between available supply and projected demand.”

This farce for one of the most-taxed states comes just four days after President Biden’s Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm praised the state’s green energy policies.

Granholm said that California was leading the nation in green energy development and praised its ability to shape national energy policy, according to an interview conducted by Fox 11 Los Angeles.

“I love the fact that California is unabashedly bold about (green) energy policy,” Granholm stated, calling the state as a green “leader” for the rest of the country.

“California’s boldness has … shaped our willingness in the federal government to move further and faster,” she said of California’s green energy policies.

California’s energy policy has currently left 75,000 Californians without power already…

And the state’s largest power company, PG&E Corp., said in a statement that it had notified about 525,000 homes and businesses that they could lose power for up to two hours.

So this is what the rest of America can look forward to?

*  *  *

Update (1700ET): As we warned about earlier, Califiornians are apparently not heeding officials’ warnings that they should sacrifice their comfort for the sake of whatever business or social-engineering plan is the new thing.

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Category 4 hurricane? Prepare for 21 days without power, Entergy says

Category 4 hurricane? Prepare for 21 days without power, Entergy says

Even a Category 1 hurricane might bring 7 days without power, utility says.

The electricity has been off for 11 days in Bridge City, La. Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. (Staff photo by David Grunfeld, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

As Louisiana prepares to enter the most active weeks of the hurricane season, an Entergy representative said the public should be prepared to go without power for up to 21 days in the event a Category 4 storm hits the area, and seven days for a Category 1 storm.

The restoration timeline — offered during a presentation Friday to the Kenner City Council — tracks with estimates Entergy provided to local government leaders last August, days before Hurricane Ida walloped southeast Louisiana, roaring ashore near Grand Isle as a Category 4 storm.

At the time, Entergy warned that Ida had the potential to leave residents and businesses in the dark for up to 21 days, if not longer. For most residents in Orleans and Jefferson parishes, the blackout lasted for about 10 days.

Still, the outages left more than a million households and businesses without power in Louisiana’s sweltering summer heat and is seen as a factor in at least a dozen heat-related deaths in New Orleans alone.

According to Entergy’s estimates, the public should be prepared to go without power for up to seven days for a Category 1 storm; 10 days for a Category 2 storm; 14 days for a Category 3 storm; 21 days for a Category 4 storm; and more than 21 days for a Category 5 storm.


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Pakistan Hit With Power Blackouts As It Struggles With Fuel Shortages And Technical Problems

Pakistan Hit With Power Blackouts As It Struggles With Fuel Shortages And Technical Problems

A once-in-a-generation inflation shock is rippling worldwide and has become a significant source of social and political instability in the weakest countries. Pakistan is the latest country to experience paralyzing inflation.

Bloomberg reports almost a fifth of electricity generation capacity is offline in the South Asian country because some power plants struggle to purchase liquefied natural gas and coal due to record high prices.

Pakistan’s energy costs have doubled to $15 billion in the last nine months ended February from a year earlier. The country has struggled with purchasing energy products to fuel its power plants since the conflict in Ukraine exacerbated commodity shortages, sending prices to record highs.

Miftah Ismail, appointed as finance minister by new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, tweeted that 3,500 megawatts worth of power capacity are offline due to fuel shortages, and a similar amount is due to technical faults. The total capacity offline is 7,000 megawatts or about a fifth of the country’s total generation capacity.

The poor South Asian country is heavily dependent on imported energy, making it highly sensitive to price swings.

“Pakistan’s situation will not change in the near term since global dynamics are still the same.

“There have been forced outages to deal with the energy shortages,” said Samiullah Tariq, head of research at Pakistan Kuwait Investment Co.

High inflation has already led to a recent government change (so far peaceful). Still, it raises near-term policy turmoil even as the country faces fiscal challenges from soaring commodity prices.

It could only be a matter of time before rolling power blackouts, soaring food and fuel prices incite unrest. This is already happening around the world in the weakest of countries.

The tiny island nation of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean and Peru have already experienced unrest because of rapid inflation. It appears the dominos are already falling.

“Island-Wide Blackout” Strikes Puerto Rico After Major Power Station Erupts In Flames 

“Island-Wide Blackout” Strikes Puerto Rico After Major Power Station Erupts In Flames 

Puerto Rico’s power grid was hit by a devastating fire at one of the largest power plants on the island that triggered widespread blackouts, according to Bloomberg.

On Wednesday night, the outage began when a fire broke out at the Costa Sur power plant in the island’s southwest region, Puerto Rican utility company LUMA Energy said.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) tweeted a video of one of the power plant’s generator circuit breakers erupting in flames, shooting fireballs into the night sky.

“The power grid has suffered a massive island-wide blackout, potentially caused by a circuit breaker failure at the Costa Sur generation plant,” LUMA officials said Wednesday night. The fire was extinguished hours later.

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi urged Puerto Ricans “to remain calm.” According to PowerOutage, as many as 438k out of 1.468 million customers tracked are without power as of 0900 ET.

In recent months, the outage was one of the biggest for the island’s deteriorating electrical grid, which has seen frequent rolling blackouts grow worse by the year.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico exited bankruptcy last month, but PREPA remains buried in insurmountable debt, totaling around $9bln.

Millions Without Power After Blackouts Hit Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan

A massive power outage was reported on Tuesday across several Eurasia countries that left millions in the dark.

Reuters reports Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan found themselves without power today. All three ex-Soviet republics have interconnected power grids connected to Russia.

The source of the disruption could be due to Kazakhstan’s North-South power line, which links its two neighbors to power stations in northern Kazakhstan and the Russian power grid. On Tuesday morning, Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company (KEGOC) said “emergency imbalances” resulted in disruptions.

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Texas’ Power Grid “Could Be At Risk” Ahead Of Cold Blast

Texas’ Power Grid “Could Be At Risk” Ahead Of Cold Blast

The primary grid operator for Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), is preparing for another round of bitterly cold weather that may disrupt natural gas power plants.

National Weather Service (NWS) anticipates temperatures across parts of the Lone Star State to plunge Thursday and affect natgas flows to electricity generators.

The second round of cold air comes as the first blast of arctic air paralyzed several gas wells, processing plants, and other equipment to move natgas to electricity generators. As a result, about 10% of natgas production went offline for 48 hours. It was the most significant disruption to the grid since the state’s infamous February 2021 near power grid collapse.

On Thursday, temperatures in Midland, Texas, the Permian Basin oil and gas field location, will be around 18 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 15 degrees below average for this time of year.

“Gas wells are particularly susceptible to so-called freeze-offs because of the high volumes of subterranean water that typically flow out of the ground alongside the fuel. Wind installations also can be knocked offline by intense cold while overcast weather and snow disrupt solar-power output,” Bloomberg said.

“It is important to remember, however, as we have consistently stated, that some variation in production occurs with sudden temperature changes -– these are field operations, not controlled factory settings,” Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, said in a statement. 

Ahead of Thursday, ERCOT filed a report with state regulators that outlined most of its power-generating units comply with new winterization rules following last year’s power grid problems. The grid operator found ten generators out of the 302 inspected didn’t meet the new requirements to survive a winter storm. The generators susceptible to volatile weather represent a total capacity of 532 megawatts or about .4% of ERCOT’s generation.

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Flights Canceled, 800,000 Without Power As Fast-Moving Winter Storm Pounds Mid-Atlantic

Flights Canceled, 800,000 Without Power As Fast-Moving Winter Storm Pounds Mid-Atlantic

Update (1217ET): A fast-moving winter storm pounded the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, resulting in 800,00 customers without power.

According to PowerOutage.US, the highest concentration of power outages spanned across Virginia (378k customers without power) and North Carolina (163k customers without power).

AccuWeather reports parts of Tennessee and North Carolina have received nearly a foot of snow.

The Washington Metropolitan Area is expected to receive 4-6 inches of snow by late evening.

The wintry conditions unleashed travel hell, with at least 2,330 flight cancellations within, into, or out of the US. Most cancellations are at Reagan National, Baltimore/Washington International, and LaGuardia.

* * *

The timing of Monday’s winter storm for Mid-Atlantic states isn’t great as more flights have been canceled or delayed due to staffing issues and inclement weather.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a winter storm warning for Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Deleware, and South Jersey. The storm could blanket D.C. with a foot of snow by Monday night.

NWS warns that some areas could see upwards of 2 inches of snow per hour. Total snowfall could reach 10 inches in certain areas, but a large swath of the Mid-Atlantic could see 4-8 inches.

Adverse weather conditions worsened the travel situation amid a crew staffing shortage. Flight tracking firm FlightAware.com reports (as of 0700 ET) 1,800 flights within, into, or out of the U.S. were canceled, with nearly 672 delays. That follows Sunday’s 2,709 cancellations.

Reagan National, LaGuardia, Denver International, Baltimore/Washington International, Newark Liberty International, and Washington Dulles International had some of the highest flight cancellations this morning. Southwest, SkyWest, Endeavor Air, and JetBlue were the most affected airlines.

Since Christmas Eve, at least 12,000 flights have been canceled around the country, making this past holiday travel season an absolute mess for airline passengers. It appears the travel chaos will be extended for the next few days.

Zambia state power firm says nation in countrywide blackout

LUSAKA, Nov 6 (Reuters) – Zambia was experiencing a nationwide power blackout on Saturday after an unidentified problem, the state utility said, adding that it was working to restore electricity supply.

“We have lost power countrywide resulting from a fault, which is yet to be determined. The company is restarting the main sources of electricity to create stability on the system,” state-owned Zesco spokesman John Kunda said.

Kunda said the power supply was likely to be restored in six to eight hours.

Copper-rich Zambia suffered another major power outage affecting most parts of the country last month after a problem at an important hydropower station. read more

Sunspot Could Send Solar Flares Toward Earth That May Disrupt the Power Grid


A massive sunspot on the surface of the sun has the potential to shoot solar flares toward Earth, and this particular sunspot is one of concern. A solar flare could disrupt the power grid and take down some radio communications.

A massive sunspot on the surface of the sun has the potential to shoot solar flares toward Earth, and this particular sunspot is one of concern. A solar flare could disrupt the power grid and take down some radio communications.

A massive flare is expected from sunspot AR2770. Not only is a massive flare likely, but this sunspot is also expected to grow in size and cause eruptions, The Financial Express reported. According to the report, the sunspot with an expected diameter of 50,000 kilometers is likely to release a huge amount of energy that will lead to solar flares and storms. This phenomenon is known as Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) which impacts radio waves and satellite communications.

This sunspot is about the size of the planet Mars. According to NASA, “solar flares are a sudden explosion of energy caused by tangling, crossing, or reorganizing of magnetic field lines near sunspots.”

According to NASA, very large flares can even create currents within electricity grids and knock out energy supplies. When Coronal Mass Ejections strike Earth they cause geomagnetic storms and enhanced aurora. They can disrupt radio waves, GPS coordinates, and overload electrical systems.

A large influx of energy could flow into high voltage power grids and permanently damage transformers. This could shut off businesses and homes around the world.

Marin Katusa on U.S. Energy Dependence: “You Want Social Upheaval? Turn Off the Power Grid”

When Not Having Power Kills: 11 Types of Medical Equipment Dependencies and What You Can Do To Prepare

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Rolling Blackouts, Prolonged Heatwave, And ‘Fire-nados’ Sends California To The Brink   

Californians flocked to beaches, recreation areas, and lakes this past weekend to seek relief from one of the most extreme heat waves in a generation, straining the state’s power grid to the brink of collapse, reported Bloomberg.

The heatwave brought triple-digit temperatures to parts of California over the last three days and sparked concerns of fiery tornados on Saturday.

On Sunday, the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Weather Prediction Center (WPC) tweeted temperatures from Death Valley, a desert valley in Eastern California, in the northern Mojave Desert, reached 130F, the first time since 1913.

Scorching temperatures were so intense, the state’s electrical grid warned of a continuous electricity supply shortage for Sunday into Monday and Tuesday.

California Independent System Operator (California ISO) had purchased additional power to prevent another rolling blackout and issued a Flex Alert, urging customers to reduce energy in the afternoons.

Severin Borenstein, a board member of the ISO and energy economist at the University of California, Berkeley, told SFGate that rolling outages are expected to continue early this week:

“There is a real concern that they would have to do it again tomorrow and Tuesday,” he said Sunday about the rolling outages.

We noted Saturday that rolling blackouts started Friday when the state’s power reserves had fallen below a critical threshold due to elevated temperatures increased demand for power. The grid issued a “Stage 3 Grid Emergency,” which triggered the “load interruption.”

According to ABC News, this is the first round of “Stage 3” blackouts facing the state since the 2000-2001 energy crisis that forced the state’s largest utility – PG&E – into bankruptcy and led to the ouster of former Gov Gray Davis.

The blistering heat was also a major concern for firefighters battling several wildfires in Northern California.

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