Extreme heat is threatening human health and grid stability around the world. While numerous factors are contributing to grid instability, climate change, mainly caused by the combustion and extraction of fossil fuels, is driving up temperatures and thus electricity demand as the Northern Hemisphere runs air conditioners to mitigate the heat.
In the U.S., the Western megadrought is exacerbating grid instability by threatening hydroelectric production and North American grid reliability officials warned last week the heat could cause power plants to fail. Midsummer-like heat blanketed much of the country over the weekend, forcing at least one four-year-old’s birthday party to be rescheduled for earlier in the day. The heat and grid concerns are also threatening Europe, where heatwaves shattered records from Portugal to Germany. In South Asia, where the ongoing heatwave continues to drag on, flooding in Bangladesh and Northeast India has killed more than 60 people and left millions homeless.
(Heat & blackouts: Bloomberg $, The Independent; U.S.: CBS, Reuters, Utility Dive, FT $, Yale Environment 360; US: New York Times $, WHYY, Grist, New York Times $, Bloomberg $, Washington Post $, The Hill, Boston Globe $, USA Today, Gizmodo, The Guardian; Crazy Colorado weather: Denver Post, Washington Post $, Axios, Bloomberg $; Texas: Houston Chronicle, Reuters; NERC warning: Reuters, Gizmodo, Utility Dive, E&E News, The Cap Times, Washington Examiner; Birthday party: Hot News staff; Europe: Washington Post $, The Independent, Gizmodo, The Guardian; South Asia: Al Jazeera, NBC, CBS, The Guardian; Flooding: New York Times $; Climate Signals background: Extreme heat and heatwaves, Western U.S. megadrought)