'All-hazards resilience' needs to be top priority for power grid, says expert

'All-hazards resilience' needs to be top priority for power grid, says expert

'All-hazards resilience' needs to be top priority for power grid, says expert

An infrastructure expert is warning that with rising summer temperatures, Texas – along with several Midwest states – could soon find themselves on the brink of a widespread blackout.

According to a recent report by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), U.S. and Canadian power infrastructure will be tested by this summer's heat and elevated potential for drought. Other related reliability issues addressed in NERC's report include the supply chain, cybersecurity threats from Russia, and an active wildfire season later in the summer.

Tommy Waller is director of infrastructure security at the Center for Security Policy. Waller tells American Family News the electric grid will be strained in the coming months – "and people could suffer as a result." He warns that summer blackouts are not off the table for the nation's Midwest and West, adding that the closure of fossil fuels plants across the region are contributing to the problem.

Waller points out that in the days prior to the release of NERC's Summer Reliability Assessment, Texas experienced a heat-induced blackout when six electric power generation facilities tripped offline. And as a result, the state's grid operator asked residents to conserve power by setting their thermostats to 78-degrees or above and avoiding the usage of large appliances during peak hours.

Waller, Tommy (Ctr. for Security Policy) Waller

"I'm sure Texas residents remember how cold weather took down their grid in 2021," says Waller. That incident last February killed more than 240 people and caused approximately $100 billion in economic losses.

"One of the reasons this happened," he asserts, "is because Texas officials essentially ignored resilience in their oversight of the electric grid."

According to Waller, the Texas grid remains vulnerable to not just hot and cold weather extremes.

"The grid also faces threats from imported Chinese transformers with potential backdoors in them that could be exploited by the country's adversaries, physical sabotage, solar weather, and electromagnetic pulse," the infrastructure expert describes. And he contends Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the state legislature "continue to fail to take meaningful action to protect its grid, despite being warned repeatedly of its many vulnerabilities for the past several years."

He continues: "Workable solutions have been declined by Texas state legislature for the past four legislative sessions" – including legislation proposed by Senator Bob Hall that would help protect the grid.

"Many argue that protecting the grid against all hazards, as Hall proposes, would be too costly. But I think the cost of not protecting the grid is unthinkable," he adds.

"It's time for Texas residents to demand action to secure their electric grid, compelling the state's officials to stop deferring such an important necessity," Waller concludes.