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This summer is shaping up to be one of the hottest the U.S. has ever seen. That’s not good for our struggling power grid.
A streak of hot summers isn’t likely to let up this year. A new federal climate outlook released last week predicts July through September temperatures will once again be above normal in much of the U.S., with the most abnormal heat expected in the Southwest.
And thanks to human-caused climate change, combined with a developing El Niño weather pattern, the whole world is on track for a toasty next few years. Experts at the World Meteorological Organization predicted in a new report that the Earth will almost certainly see its warmest year on record sometime in the next five years.
None of that is good news for the U.S. power grid. The North American Electric Reliability Corp. — a nonprofit power grid watchdog — just put power generators and transmission owners on high alert for this coming summer. If temperatures reach extreme highs as expected, the majority of the U.S. could face power supply shortfalls that turn into blackouts, NERC warns.
But the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversees U.S. electricity supplies, did find a few bright spots in the report. Enough new power supplies are expected to come online this summer to cover anticipated growth in demand, and electricity prices may also drop, the regulators suggest.
More clean energy news
🌎 International climate action stalls: G7 countries’ annual meeting ended without a new commitment to phase out fossil fuel use as the U.S. pushed countries to ramp up clean energy while facilitating its allies’ access to oil and natural gas. (Axios)
⚠️ A new coal ash crackdown: New U.S. EPA coal ash rules would address hundreds of “legacy” coal ash landfills and ponds that have gone unregulated for years, but environmental groups say they leave loopholes for dozens of other sites. (Energy News Network)
💰 Cash for climate goals: Electric utility companies are starting to tie CEO pay to climate and emission targets, though researchers say they should more clearly link bonuses to science-based goals. (E&E News)
⛔ Electric vans’ roadblock: Commercial vehicles tend to drive short, established routes every day, making them well suited for electrification — but production problems have limited the rollout of electric trucks and vans. (New York Times)
🏘️ A mounting electrification fight: Renters who want to lower their emissions with electric vehicles and appliances run up against landlords who are reluctant to make expensive upgrades, and incentives aimed at single-family homeowners aren’t helping. (Washington Post)
⚡ Two-step permitting reforms? Federal energy permitting reform talks continue as Republicans look to push off transmission reforms until after a debt ceiling deal is reached, and Democrats look to detach them from debt ceiling negotiations altogether. (Politico, The Hill)
🔥 Garbage in, methane out: The U.S. could significantly reduce landfill methane emissions if the EPA established stronger regulations and monitoring, an environmental group’s research finds. (Inside Climate News)
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