Behind the Forecast: Does crazier weather equal more power outages
Listen to Science Behind the Forecast with Meteorologist Tawana Andrew every Friday on 89.3 WFPL at 7:45 a.m.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As our weather pattern becomes more active towards Spring, power outages become a significant concern.
Weather-related events led to around 80% of major power outages in the United States between 2000 and 2021. The average annual number of weather-related power outages jumped 78% between 2011 and 2021 compared to the previous decade.
Between 2000 and 2021, winter weather caused 22% of the 1,542 weather-related power outages that occurred in the U.S. Hurricanes accounted for 15% and other severe weather lead to 58%.
The average electricity customer was without power for seven hours and 20 minutes in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s annual power industry report. More than five of those hours were due to major weather events. Indiana customers dealt with 4.76 hours without power while Kentucky residents suffered through 11.8 hours without power.
As we start to see more wild and intense weather as the climate changes, that could lead to stress on our country’s infrastructure.
Since 2000, Kentucky has seen 42 weather-related major power outages; Indiana has seen 59.
While the grid still relies on a good amount of coal-based power, a growing share of power is coming from renewable sources, like solar and wind power. The US power grid is actually made up of several regional grids, or interconnections, that are tied together and operate on a synchronized frequency of 60 hertz.
Experts expect more, and longer, power disruptions across the country unless more is done to update our systems.
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