Is The Utility Grid Ready For Climate Change?
This program originally aired March 3
Two very different climate events this year revealed the fragility of America's utility infrastructure.
A winter storm that hit Texas in February left more than 4.5 million electrical customers in the cold and dark. More than 50 people died due to hypothermia.
The Pacific Northwest sweltered under a "heat dome" in June, causing temperature records to melt, as did power cables feeding Portland's streetcar system. The heavy demand for electricity in Spokane, Wash., caused a utility to implement rolling blackouts.
The Carolinas have experienced their own brushes with extreme conditions that caused the energy grid to buckle under, including a 2002 ice storm and Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
How resilient is our utility infrastructure to the threat posed by climate change?
Jeremiah Johnson, North Carolina State University, associate professor in the Dept. of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering
Nelson Peeler, Duke Energy, senior vice president for transmission and fuel strategies
Ron Hargrove, Charlotte Water, deputy utilities director