This week, most of the east coast of North America is under a deep and repressive freeze. The bomb cyclone, scientifically known as explosive cyclogenesis, is essentially a mid-latitude winter storm that can rival the destructive power of a hurricane.
This most recent bomb cyclone, named “Winter Storm Grayson,” has been blamed for half-frozen iguanas falling out of the trees of Florida, four deaths in North Carolina, 95% of all flights being scuttled out of LaGuardia Airport, and coastal flooding in Boston. Beyond those headlines, there is another story getting missed and that is the wear and tear Grayson is having on the electrical grid.
Since the Polar Vortex of 2014, Northeastern power companies began hardening their grid for just such events. However, Grayson caused grid havoc from Florida all the way to Nova Scotia. The power plants in the American South are not as resilient to sub-freezing temperatures as their counterparts in the North East. With this regional imbalance, and the secondary problem of downed power lines during heavy usage loads, it only compounds the problems of a weak national grid.
Beyond the problems of the grid system being able to deliver power, natural gas has become another issue. Natural gas accounts for one third of U.S. energy generation. The weather events of this past week have produced problems at natural gas plants in the Midwest due to supply shortages. The use of natural gas to heat homes and fuel power stations broke all records this week too. On this past Monday, America consumed 143 billion cubic feet of natural gas, breaking the record from the 2014 Polar Vortex event. We are quickly using up our supply on hand and analysts predict there will be natural gas shortages for the Northeast and outwards later in the season. According to John Kilduff, energy analyst at Again Capital, “We could consume upwards of a quarter of the stored natural gas just this month.”
Now, more than ever, communities need to develop their own energy resiliency plan. Communities usually have access to methane they don’t know about. Diary farms, landfills and even wastewater treatment plants are all sources of methane that can be used to add power to your local community grid. Contact VoltaPowerGen here on our website, on our Twitter feed or our Facebook page and we will help you, step-by-step, make your community more resilient towards these enormous fluctuations to our environment.