By Michael Karlis
The San Antonio Current, Sept. 20, 2022
Over the past 20 years, Texas experienced more power outages than any other U.S. state, according to a recent study by environmental advocacy group Climate Central.
What’s more, the report’s authors warn that blackouts are likely to become more common nationwide as climate change drives an increase in extreme weather events.
The report hits with Texas still reckoning with the causes and effects of 2020’s catastrophic Winter Storm Uri. During that disaster — one of the costliest in state history — Texas’ power grid collapsed, plunging millions into darkness and leaving hundreds dead.
Although the Republican-led Texas legislature enacted reforms in the wake of Uri, many critics argue they didn’t go far enough or acknowledge the effects of climate change. Many consumers rode out heat waves this summer amid worries the overtaxed grid would flatline again.
Of the 1,542 weather-related outages documented in the U.S. over the study’s 20-year analysis, 180 were in Texas. Michigan ranked second with 132 and California third with 129.
Of all major power outages nationally, the study attributed 83% to weather-related events such as winter storms, tropical cyclones and other extremes. Climate change is making all of those weather conditions more common, the report notes.
U.S. residents experienced 64% more major power outages between 2011 and 2021 than during the previous decade, according to Climate Central. During the most recent decade, the average annual number of power outages specifically related to weather events also shot up by 78%.
“As extreme weather events become more common and electrical infrastructure continues to age, the number of outages is only likely to increase,” the group said in its report.
Originally published on The San Antonio Current.