Power Outages Are on the Rise and Michigan is Leading the Way
Power outages and brownouts in the United States are happening more frequently and Michigan is one of three states where they have become chronic.
New research released Wednesday (9/14) indicates that the demand for electricity continues to increase because of climate change while the country's energy infrastructure continues to age and grow more unreliable.
Weather is a Factor in Most Power Outages
Climate Central, a nonprofit research group tells CNN that from 2001 to 2021 83% of reported power outages were caused by weather-related events. In addition to thunderstorms, extreme weather events like tornadoes, hurricanes, and wildfires caused by droughts contribute to this number - a number that has increased by 64% since the previous decade.
Kaitlyn Trudeau is a data analyst with Climate Central. She says our energy infrastructure simply was designed for present-day weather extremes.
"The system we have right now was not built in a time and climate we're experiencing now," Trudeau says. "It is not prepared for the climate that we have now, and the climate we're going to see in the future."
States With the Highest Numbers of Weather-Related Outages
Climate Central reports that Texas is the US state with the highest number of weather-related outages reported in the last two decades. Michigan comes in second, with California, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania rounding out the top five.
In May of this year, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISD), a nonprofit organization responsible for overseeing Michigan's power grid, said our state is moving away from coal and thermal-powered electricity production, relying more heavily on wind and solar power.
The group also said Michigan's utility companies may not be able to keep up with customers' increased power demands and that DTE and Consumers Energy customers could face rolling power outages during periods of peak energy demand.