The New-Normaling of Blackouts

On Christmas Eve, 2022, in North Carolina, something happened that had never happened before in living memory. People across the state were alerted by their power company, Duke Energy, that there would be rolling blackouts in the aftermath of a severe (but “not exceedingly rare”) winter wind storm. At least 12 other states received similar and previously unheard-of warnings.

Before, rolling blackouts were a California problem, then they also became a Texas problem. Blackouts are spreading faster than even Imperial College London modelers would find believable.

Duke was still warning North Carolina customers of potential blackouts two days later on Monday the 26th, when people would be returning to work. At this point there was nothing unusual at all in the weather, except that it was colder than normal. The only thing unusual was Duke’s warning, in combination with its thanking customers for conserving enough energy to avoid blackouts on Christmas Day.

It already seems as if people are being conditioned to expect talk of rolling blackouts whenever the weather outside seems frightful.

To be very clear: rolling blackouts are not now, nor have they been, normal in the US. Therefore, having to expect rolling blackouts going forward would be abnormal. Nevertheless, as utility providers and power grid monitors have recently warned, the more grids are saddled with intermittent, unreliable wind and solar facilities, the more unreliable they are becoming. They’re more prone to capacity shortfalls and blackouts. – READ MORE

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