How Recent Natural Disasters Will Affect the Energy Grid

Unless you’ve been hiding in some doomsday bunker, you are probably aware of the dangerous slew of natural disasters we have had, leaving many parts of the nation damaged. Natural disasters know no race, gender, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, background. When they strike, they strike everyone, in any area. Of course some areas are more prone to certain natural disasters than others. In the US, we experience earthquakes, volcanoes, blizzards, tornadoes, intense storms, wildfires, landslides, avalanches, sinkholes, flooding, droughts, heat waves and more. But each of those natural disasters has an area of the country in which they are most prevalent. Wildfires are most likely in the west, whereas snowstorms are most plentiful in the midwest and northeast. Hurricanes and other tropical storms are prevalent along the eastern seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico. Volcanic eruptions more often occur in western states. Earthquakes are also more prevalent on the west coast, but occasionally, in central/eastern America. Severe storms happen from Texas to southern Minnesota, an area often referred to as tornado alley (however, tornadoes also regularly occur in Florida).

So where are natural disasters most prevalent? It is estimated that Florida is the most impacted of any state by natural disasters, regarding property damage and subsequent financial strain. However, second in states most financially affected by natural disasters is California. California experiences all kinds of natural disasters, including: earthquakes, flooding, storms and fire.

The havoc wrought on California is especially dangerous as California has the most expensive and reliable energy in the continental U.S. Unfortunately, the state has had more than 470 power outages this year alone and is expected to enact 14 planned blackout days during the summer. These changes don’t just affect California, but rather an entire country that relies upon energy from California’s power grid.

Natural disasters are also negatively impacting California’s power structure. Climate change is inciting droughts that are inhibiting hydro dams. The dams are now only producing 20 percent of their energy potential. Additionally, the heat is causing wildfires which are impacting power reserves in a number of ways. Flames are causing destruction of transmission poles and smoke and smog is making the air heavily ionized which shuts down the electricity system by taking electricity away from transmission lines.

Additionally, an earthquake of large seismic proportions is calculated to hit California relatively soon. This would devastate not only national energy expenditures but would have financial ramifications as well. The earthquake could very well devastate the gas infrastructure and an extended power outage would be highly plausible.

Fortunately, cities and other municipalities are starting to respond to previous natural disasters and prepare for new ones by creating back-up reserves of energy. This is done by utilizing technologies such as flywheel energy storage and deep cycle batteries. Additionally, generators are being heavily relied upon.

In summation, it is incredibly important, especially during this particularly naturally disastrous time, to choose an energy provider that is willing to look at alternate energies and is committed to providing their customers with the energy they paid for, by anticipating and preparing for natural disasters and other energy-threatening situations.

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