Grid monitors issued dire warnings ahead of the summer that Americans could face blackouts during an extreme heat wave — but so far, that hasn’t happened.
There isn’t a simple answer for the grid’s stability despite record-breaking heat — new wind turbines, solar panels and batteries played a major role on the hottest days, but gas and coal plants remained a bedrock. Grid operators and utilities say they’re better prepared for extreme weather. And there was a dash of luck, suggesting that the outcome could have been worse.
There’s also still plenty of summer to go, and there are signs of strain.
A heat dome continues to scorch the Midwest and Southeast. The grid operators Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which covers parts of 15 states, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) issued alerts this week signaling tight conditions. On Thursday, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) covering the central U.S. announced an emergency event requiring generators to take additional steps to meet demand but didn’t institute rolling blackouts.