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This summer started off with a dire warning for North America’s electric grid: as much as two-thirds of the continent could face power supply shortfalls if heat and other factors drove high demand, grid experts predicted.

And this summer sure had all the makings of a potential power disaster. July turned out to be the world’s hottest month on record, and triple-digit temperatures persisted across much of the U.S. through August.

But even though the heat drove power demand to the extremes in Texas and elsewhere, the country avoided any major heat-related blackouts. That’s thanks to a combination of factors, E&E News reports. More renewable power and battery storage were crucial to keeping air conditioners flowing in Texas and some other areas. Fossil fuel plants also played a big role, as did a healthy dose of luck.

The necessity of both fossil fuels and renewables this summer poses a big challenge for the clean energy future. Power demand is rising as the world warms and more electric appliances and vehicles come online, but when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, the grid needs to have stored renewable power in batteries to keep things running consistently. And with human-caused climate change poised to make summer’s heat and storms even more extreme, this year may have been only a tame preview of the power demand we can expect to see in the future.

More clean energy news

💰 Climate damage’s big cost: The world’s biggest polluters are responsible for climate damage that exceeds their annual profits up to seven times over, economists have found. (The Hill)

✂️ Easy emissions cuts: Almost all of the country’s gas-fired power plant capacity could meet proposed U.S. EPA emission rules with only minor operational changes, according to an environmental group’s new analysis that contrasts with more dire predictions by grid operators and utilities. (Utility Dive) 

👀 Wind power’s make-or-break moment: The offshore wind industry is in a state of flux as it prepares for the first Gulf of Mexico leasing auction, facing unprecedented demand but dire financial conditions that threaten its expansion. (Canary Media)

🚘 EV rental mysteries: Car rental companies are making more electric cars available but aren’t doing a good job of educating customers on the logistics of charging them, industry observers say. (Canary Media)

⚡ A wireless grid upgrade: Federal and state officials press utilities to implement “grid-enhancing” technology that can better manage power flow to expand transmission capacity without new wires. (States Newsroom)

📉 Efficiency on the decline: Utilities’ efforts to help customers make energy-efficient improvements that reduce their power consumption and bills have “stagnated,” an energy efficiency group says. (Utility Dive)

🌲 Something’s off about offsets: A study of carbon offset projects that claim to slow deforestation shows they’re not achieving that goal, suggesting that offsets alone aren’t an adequate way for businesses to tackle climate change. (Inside Climate News)

⛏️ Digging deep for clean energy: Geothermal companies look to unlock the Earth’s heat as a clean energy source, and are repurposing drilling rigs and other fossil fuel equipment to access it. (New York Times)

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Kathryn brings her extensive editorial background to the Energy News Network team, where she oversees the early-morning production of ENN’s five email digest newsletters as well as distribution of ENN’s original journalism with other media outlets. From documenting chronic illness’ effect on college students to following the inner workings of Congress, Kathryn has built a broad experience in her more than five years working at major publications including The Week Magazine. Kathryn holds a Bachelor of Science in magazine journalism and information management and technology from Syracuse University.