Could Arizona be at risk for rolling blackouts this summer? ASU expert weighs in

Although it's not technically summer yet, the triple digit heat is certainly here. The last thing Arizonans want to experience right now is a blackout.

"I think Arizona needs to be very cautious and very careful about [it], because Arizona summers are intense or we can have ground temperatures which exceed 120," said Anamitra Pal, assistant professor at Arizona State University's School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering.

According to a report released by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, two-thirds of the country could experience rolling blackouts this summer.

The three major factors contributing to the issue: post-pandemic energy demand, climate change and war.

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Pal says that in the last two years, the power grid has adjusted to changes the pandemic brought. He believes climate change and the war between Russia and Ukraine will be a higher threat.

"There was a case in 2016 when there was a power outage in Ukraine, it lasted for I think two to six hours," Pal said. "It was believed that it was caused by cyber attacks from hackers from Russia, and it impacted 230,000 customers in Ukraine, so if something even similar happens over here in the peak of summer, the consequences will be much more severe."

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Pal says to offset or minimize some of these uncertainties, he believes there needs to be strategic interventions.

"We are studying the impact of wildfires and the electric power infrastructure," he said. "How can those effects be minimized so that we are able to do better wildfire awareness and risk management practice."

He also mentions that adding more renewable resources can increase the nation's total power supply in the system.