What? Minnesota’s Energy Grid Is At Risk This Summer
Minnesota's usually-reliable power grid is at risk as we head into the summer season here in 2022.
This is the kind of stuff that seems to usually happen to other areas of the country, not here in Minnesota. But according to a new report, it's true: Minnesota's power grid is at risk of rolling blackouts this summer as sweltering summer temperatures cause an increasing demand for energy.
That's the word, anyway, from the annual summer assessment from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). This CBS News story said that that NERC concluded the Upper Midwest-- including Minnesota-- is facing a capacity shortfall that could lead to a high risk of energy emergencies, the story noted.
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While portions of the West remain especially vulnerable to rolling blackouts due to possible wildfires caused by the ongoing drought, surprisingly, things don't look much better here in our own backyard in the North Star State, NERC said. According to CBS:
In a large swath of the grid stretching from Illinois to Minnesota, the summer's power demands are projected to exceed the grid's capacity. That's because this area of the grid has lost about 2% of its generation capacity since last year as plants have retired, and a key transmission line is also down for maintenance.
Here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, our power grid is managed by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). And while they point out that while our area is at risk of experiencing possible rolling blackouts, we shouldn't start panicking just yet. The story noted a similar assessment last year put nearly 40 percent of the country in the same category, but most areas weren't affected.
Plus, the NERC assessment noted that the key transmission line that's been out of commission since those severe storms moved through Minnesota and other parts of the Midwest in December 2021 is actually set to come back online at the end of June, which should also help alleviate some of that demand.
Either way, though, it's a little unsettling to think our normally-reliable power-- which keeps those air conditioners humming during a hot, humid Minnesota summer-- could be disrupted this year.
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