When the polar vortex struck America in 2014, nuclear and coal power plants in the Northeast and Midwest had to work in full capacity to ensure homes did not lose heat and power. While most people did not pay much attention to this fact, as they take it for granted that power and heat will always be there unless there is a major breakdown.
Most of the coal and nuclear power plants that sustained the country during frigid temperatures are no longer operational. The remaining are being phased out, as the nation moves from coal and nuclear power to the sustainable energy sources, like solar, wind and natural gas. However, some experts reckon that these sustainable sources are not very reliable or secure, and hence, can pose a major in the future.
While America has not contended with a major catastrophe, the shift towards unreliable energy sources may lead to an outage that has the potential to disrupt normal life, especially in the Midwest and Northeast.
Why Crisis in Making?
The government is not paying attention to the energy crisis. By ignoring this fact, it doesn’t mean that the crisis will not happen. On the contrary, America will be caught unprepared should an outage of major proportions occur.
In a technologically advanced nation like America, the power grid is the lifeline of the country. Without power, life as we know it will come to a standstill. A few American realize that electricity supply is an issue that needs to be tackled on war footing. If a crisis does occur, everyone, from the government to scientists and laypeople, would have been wishing that they had done something earlier to prevent it.
Current day power grids may be eco-friendly and allow homes to get access to affordable electricity and heating, but thought and knowledge leaders need to delve deeper into reliability and resilience of the nation’s power grid while also determining the benefits of nuclear and coal power.
Nuclear and coal plants have the ability to generate energy regardless of the circumstances. However, punitive regulations, government subsidies, focus on renewable energy sources and low price of natural gas have sideline these power plants and now they are being retired.
The Way Forward
The government and its experts need to analyze the electricity system for resilience and reliability. Try to unearth what is needed should a widespread calamity or terrorist attack occurs. Once these experts start asking the right questions, they will be able to get the right solutions. Until then, energy crisis will be at the horizon. The need of the hour is diversification of energy supply and hence, America needs to retain plants that consistently generate electricity while ensuring grids has the ability to adapt and supply even if plants go down.