The Midwest’s power grid can withstand the winter season. Of that, there is no doubt from experts. But, they are concerned that it may not be able to survive an extreme winter storm, such as the one that hit Texas back in February.
“It’s that extreme stuff that we need to be concerned about and not take our supply of electricity for granted,” said Mark Olson, manager of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), to WISH-TV.
NERC recently released a comprehensive study on the nation’s regional electrical grids. Much of Indiana’s power grid falls under the regulation of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). For MISO, Olson says the main concern is its dependence on natural gas.
“Natural gas is supporting a variety of needs, from space heating in people’s harms and businesses, but it is also supporting electrical generation,” he said. “So, we’ve got this condition where electricity supply dependent on natural gas availability.”
If a freak extreme winter storm were to hit Indiana, the risk of natural gas supply being cut off would be great, says Olson. If that were to happen, large portions of the state could experience blackouts.
Olson is also quick to urge Hoosiers not to panic about the effectiveness of Indiana’s power grid for the winter months. But, he says things do need to be shored up in the event of extreme winter weather.