by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:
We are getting a very short preview of what will eventually happen to the United States as a whole. America’s infrastructure is aging and crumbling. Our power grids were never intended to support so many people, our water systems are a complete joke, and it has become utterly apparent that we would be completely lost if a major long-term national emergency ever struck. Texas has immense wealth and vast energy resources, but now it is being called a “failed state”. If it can’t even handle a few days of cold weather, what is the rest of America going to look like when things really start to get chaotic in this country?
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At this point, it has become clear that the power grid in Texas is in far worse shape than anyone ever imagined. When extremely cold weather hit the state, demand for energy surged dramatically. At the same time, about half of the wind turbines that Texas relies upon froze, and the rest of the system simply could not handle the massive increase in demand.
Millions of Texans were without power for days, and hundreds of thousands are still without power as I write this article.
And now we are learning that Texas was literally just moments away from “a catastrophic failure” that could have resulted in blackouts “for months”…
Texas’ power grid was “seconds and minutes” away from a catastrophic failure that could have left Texans in the dark for months, officials with the entity that operates the grid said Thursday.
As millions of customers throughout the state begin to have power restored after days of massive blackouts, officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, which operates the power grid that covers most of the state, said Texas was dangerously close to a worst-case scenario: uncontrolled blackouts across the state.
I can’t even imagine how nightmarish things would have eventually gotten in Texas if there had actually been blackouts for months.
According to one expert, the state really was right on the verge of a “worst case scenario”…
The worst case scenario: Demand for power outstrips the supply of power generation available on the grid, causing equipment to catch fire, substations to blow and power lines to go down.
If the grid had gone totally offline, the physical damage to power infrastructure from overwhelming the grid could have taken months to repair, said Bernadette Johnson, senior vice president of power and renewables at Enverus, an oil and gas software and information company headquartered in Austin.
For years, I have been telling my readers that they have got to have a back up plan for power, because during a major emergency the grid can fail.
And when it fails, it can literally cost some people their lives. I was deeply saddened when I learned that one man in Texas actually froze to death sitting in his own recliner…
As Texas suffered through days of power outages, a man reportedly froze to death in his recliner with his wife clinging to life beside him.
The man was found dead in his Abilene home on Wednesday after being without power for several days in the record cold.
Most Americans don’t realize that much of the rest of the world actually has much better power infrastructure than we do. Just check out these numbers…
In Japan, the average home sees only 4 minutes of power outages per year. In the American Midwest, the figure is 92 minutes per year. In the Northeast, it’s 214 minutes; all those figures cover only regular outages and not those caused by extreme weather or fires.
As our population has grown and our infrastructure has aged, performance has just gotten worse and worse. In fact, things ran much more smoothly all the way back in the mid-1980s…
According to an analysis by Climate Central, major outages (affecting more than 50,000 homes or businesses) grew ten times more common from the mid-1980s to 2012. From 2003 to 2012, weather-related outages doubled. In a 2017 report, the American Society of Civil Engineers reported that there were 3,571 total outages in 2015, lasting 49 minutes on average. The U.S. Energy Administration reports that in 2016, the average utility customer had 1.3 power interruptions, and their total blackout time averaged four hours.
America is literally crumbling all around us, and it getting worse with each passing year.
Our water systems are another example.
In Texas, the cold weather literally caused thousands of pipes to burst. The damage caused by all of these ruined pipes is going to be in the billions of dollars.