electricity grid


Hurricanes Sandy, Katrina, and the Growing Risks of Storm Surge and Blackouts

, director of energy research, Clean Energy

Superstorm Sandy was a big wake-up call for the Northeast when it made landfall near Atlantic City, NJ, on October 29, 2012. In addition to the tragic loss of lives and property, Sandy caused billions of dollars of damages and left more than 8 million people in 21 states without power. On the third anniversary of Sandy, a new UCS analysis looks at what steps have been taken to make our electricity grid less vulnerable and more resilient to power outages from storm surge and coastal flooding on the East and Gulf Coasts. The answer? Some, but not enough. Read more >

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Cheap Renewable Energy is Here. Why Doesn’t The Grid Plan For It?

, senior energy analyst, Climate & Energy Program

Wind farms and solar arrays are setting new records for low energy prices, with wind under 2 ½ cents and solar under 4 cents when conditions are right. These are cheap prices, given electricity from new natural gas plants is in the 5-7 cents range, coal at 6-10 cents, and nuclear somewhere between 13 and 15 cents, according to one fleet owner (nuclear can be unpredictable). So why aren’t more electric grid operators incorporating this energy as they plan to meet grid needs? Read more >

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Final Clean Power Plan Takes Key Steps to Ensure Reliable Electricity. Now What?

, senior energy analyst, Climate & Energy Program

In the past year, utility organizations went to the microphones to call out the EPA for making the draft Clean Power Plan without adequate time or attention on grid reliability. There were numerous reports prepared by utility planners raising alarms about insufficient time to plan for a cleaner power supply, while others showed no technical obstacles to raising the mix to 30-40% renewable energy. Read more >

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Power Outages, Extreme Weather, and Climate Change: How Smart Energy Choices Will Help Keep the Lights On

, director of energy research, Clean Energy

Our nation’s aging electricity system is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events — including flooding, extreme heat, drought, and wildfires — which often cause power outages. Today UCS released a new report called Power Failure, which describes how extreme weather events are likely to increase in the future as global temperatures continue to rise, with major consequences for the electricity sector. Read more >

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A Difficult Conversation: How to Prevent Power Outages in Coastal Communities

, senior energy analyst, Climate & Energy Program

When we talk about the electricity supply in this country, we confront a generational transition. As coastal communities repair and improve their electric grids to better face rising waters and powerful storms, they are caught in a realization: We are using the same gear our grandfathers used to keep the lights on. It is time to recognize how new things like solar panels, smart meters, and heating and cooling improvements can contribute to the grid in times of stress, and every other day. It is time for the 21st century to reconsider the 19th century design of the centralized, one-way grid. Read more >

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