On the Radio: Power grid braces for climate change


Old power lines being fed by renewable wind turbines in Dexter, Minn. (Elvis Kennedy/Flickr)
Old power lines being fed by renewable wind turbines in Dexter, Minn. (Elvis Kennedy/Flickr)
May 26, 2015

This week’s On the Radio segment looks at a U.S. Department of Energy effort to overhaul the current power grid in anticipation of future extreme weather events associated with climate change. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

IN APRIL, THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY RELEASED A REPORT CALLING FOR AN OVERHAUL OF THE CURRENT POWER GRID TO BETTER HANDLE EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS ASSOCIATED WITH CLIMATE CHANGE.

THIS IS THE IOWA ENVIRONMENTAL FOCUS.

THE REPORT STATED THAT SEVERE WEATHER HAS BEEN THE LEADING CAUSE OF POWER DISRUPTIONS IN THE U.S., CAUSING BETWEEN 18- AND 33-BILLION-DOLLARS IN DAMAGES EACH YEAR. THE REPORT’S AUTHORS EXPECT THAT THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE WILL CAUSE MORE SEVERE WEATHER AND WORSEN THESE DAMAGES. DURING THE UNVEILING OF THE PLAN IN PHILADELPHIA, VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN SAID THAT MORE ENERGY IS BEING PRODUCED FROM WIND AND SOLAR, WHICH PRESENTS PROBLEMS FOR THE GRID IN TIMES OF POWER OUTAGES, PARTICULARLY IN RURAL AREAS WHERE THE INFRASTRUCTURE LAGS BEHIND THE TECHNOLOGY.

THE REPORT RECOMMENDS SPENDING MORE THAN FIFTEEN-BILLION-DOLLARS OVER THE NEXT DECADE TO IMPROVE THE GRID AND MAKE ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE MORE RESILIANT TO EXTREME WEATHER AND OTHER EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE REPORT, VISIT IOWA-ENVIRONMENTAL-FOCUS-DOT-ORG.

FROM THE UI CENTER FOR GLOBAL AND REGIONAL ENVIROINMENTAL RESEARCH, I’M JERRY SCHNOOR.

SOURCE: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-21/white-house-unveils-road-map-for-upgrading-energy-infrastructure

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