Brennie published on Huffington Post asks: “Will the Next Natural Disaster Doom the Nation’s Energy Grid?”

Adapted from Huffington Post: “Will the Next Natural Disaster Doom the Nation’s Energy Grid”
Written by: Jessica Leader (MESM 2017)

energy crisis

“California is facing a power calamity. Not only does the state have the most expensive energy in the continental U.S., but also the least reliable. It’s leading the nation with more than 470 power outages this year alone, and is expected to enact 14 planned blackout days throughout the summer as a response to power sourcing issues.”

In Jessica Leader’s recent article published on the Huffington Post, “Will the Next Natural Disaster Doom the Nation’s Energy Grid,” Bren School second year master’s student (MESM 2017) examines the potential impact of natural disasters on California’s energy supply.

While natural disasters already play a significant role in disrupting the state’s power structure, “the elephant in the room is not the drought, or rising temperatures, or even wildfires.” It’s earthquakes.

“A high magnitude earthquake could destroy California’s entire energy system. ‘The whole western side of (San Francisco) is built on sand,’ Cal Broomhead, the energy and climate program manager for SF Environment told the website GreenBiz. “If we have a massive earthquake, the gas infrastructure will be shot, and we could face an extended power outage.”

But it is not all doom and gloom. With new technologies in battery energy storage green energy, and resilient backup systems “California is pioneering emergency power preparedness.”

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Jess Leader is a second year MESM student.  This summer she is working with FreeWire Technologies, a mobile energy storage company in the Bay Area, and doing freelance work for the Huffington Post.

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