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Texas' electric grid is feeling the strain, and it's not even that hot yet

Apr 16, 2024
A big part of the problem: Power plants usually go offline for maintenance in April.
April is annual maintenance time for Texas power plants, making it harder for the grid to handle a heat spike.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Are utility companies — and the government — ready for the next attack on the grid?

Apr 14, 2023
A dramatic 2013 attack on California’s electricity system prompted security upgrades. Reviews are underway after recent similar assaults.
Attackers took down 17 transformers at Pacific Gas & Electric's Metcalf Transmission Substation in 2013. No arrests were ever made.
Lily Jamali/Marketplace

Texas lawmakers want state-funded power plants to improve grid reliability

Apr 13, 2023
Blackouts and brownouts are becoming more common thanks to climate change. Grid managers say backup electricity options are essential — but at what cost?
Texas lawmakers are debating a bill that would fund new natural gas plants to act as a sort of fleet of emergency generators. Above, transmission towers near Houston.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

After a holiday marked by power failures, what's being done to ensure the lights stay on?

Dec 27, 2022
Experts say the country needs more transmission lines to move power from where it’s being generated to where it’s needed.
A sign for a closed bar in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Dec. 24. Millions spent the holidays without power due to extreme cold.
Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Hurricane Ian has many thinking about the resilience of the electric grid

Sep 28, 2022
There's no one-size-fits-all way to make the power infrastructure impervious to natural disasters.
One way to strengthen power grids against extreme weather is to put transmission lines underground. But that can be costly and may not help during storms with heavy rain.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

What we get wrong about the energy grid

Dec 28, 2021
We should focus on changing demand for electric power when planning for the future.
During a period of extreme cold in February, people took shelter at a store in Houston that was transformed into a warming station. The drop in temperature caused a widespread and prolonged power outage.
Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images

What's behind China's power cuts?

Oct 5, 2021
China has more than enough coal underground to service the country's needs.
There are more than 50 cap and trade programs across the world to address carbon emissions.
Kevin Frayer via Getty Images

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Texas' efforts to fix electrical grid may not be enough to prevent future blackouts

Sep 13, 2021
The state's decision nearly a century ago to go it alone when it comes to electricity still has ramifications today.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Power in parts of Louisiana may not be restored for weeks

Aug 31, 2021
"The longer the power's off, the more of a threat to a person's life safety," a former FEMA administrator says.
“Next to water, I would say the air conditioning is probably the biggest issue because it’s just brutally hot," says Douglas Harris, a professor of economics at Tulane University, of conditions in New Orleans.
Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

Big Texas energy companies may become more powerful after historic winter storm

Mar 29, 2021
Consolidation in the Texas energy sector could make a few companies "too big to fail," some say.
Several inches of snow blanketed most of Texas on Feb. 15. In the Denver Heights neighborhood of San Antonio, residents woke up to rolling blackouts that eventually turned into a multiday outage.
Dominic Walsh