Study shows that America is facing a coming epidemic of power blackouts

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Remember where you heard it:

The number of power failures affecting over 50,000 Americans has more than doubled in the past 10 years — and the pace is likely to increase.

HERE‘s the deal:

Industrialized countries face a future of increasingly severe blackouts, a new study warns, due to the proliferation of extreme weather events, the transition to unconventional fossil fuels, and fragile national grids that cannot keep up with rocketing energy demand.

“We need a fundamental re-think about how electricity is generated and distributed and who controls this,” said lead author Prof Hugh Byrd of Lincoln University, a specialist in international energy policy and urban sustainability. “It is not in the interests of the privatized power industry to encourage less electricity consumption.”

Every year, millions of people around the world experience major electricity blackouts, but the country that has endured more blackouts than any other industrialized nation is the United States.


According to a little-known report last year to the Executive Office of the President by the Council of Economic Advisers and Department of Energy, between 2003 and 2012 the US saw 679 blackouts due to extreme weather events, costing on average $18-33 billion a year. In 2012 alone, the US suffered eleven “billion-dollar” weather disasters.

“The number of outages caused by severe weather is expected to rise as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, blizzards, floods and other extreme weather events,” the report found.

The growing prevalence of extreme weather including droughts due to climate change could also significantly undermine coal, gas and nuclear production, all of which require large inputs of water, to spin and cool turbines in thermal power plants.