Could Minnesota suffer a Texas-size energy grid failure?

February18, 2021

Sahan Journal

Andrew Hazzard

The massive power outages in Texas from extreme cold are unlikely to occur in Minnesota, but parts of the state have been hit by rolling blackouts due to high demand on energy grids. 

Controlled blackouts hit Moorhead this week, leaving residents without power for bouts lasting about 30 minutes, while temperatures hovered around zero degrees, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reported. 

Energy grid regulators implemented those rationing outages to avoid massive blackouts like the ones seen in Texas this week, where millions have lost power and face dangerous situations without heat and with limited water. At least 12 people in Texas have died due to the cold and related issues like carbon monoxide poisoning, as people attempt to heat their homes with fires and outdoor propane heaters. 

Historically marginalized communities across the United States have been disproportionately impacted by extreme weather events, according to a 2019 study from the journal Frontiers in Public Health. In Texas, minority neighborhoods have been especially stricken by recent blackouts, The New York Times reported. Older and sicker people are particularly vulnerable to power outages.

“When the power goes out the folks that get hit the hardest are often elderly, or people with health problems that need consistent temperatures,” Annie Levenson-Falk, executive director of the nonprofit Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota, told Sahan Journal.

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Author: Hannah Hoeger

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