Heatwaves are pushing power grids to their brink around the world — a risk that can make an already dangerous situation deadly. From a report: When temperatures spike, people tend to need air conditioning the most. But that can put a lot of pressure on a power grid, potentially triggering a blackout if there isn’t enough electricity on hand. That’s the worst-case scenario grid operators across the world are scrambling to prevent. Close to 28.8 million people are under heat alerts today in the US. Texas grid operator ERCOT broke its June record for electricity demand on Monday after issuing a “weather watch” for June 15th through 21st and asking residents to voluntarily conserve energy. In Texas and across the border in Mexico, temperatures soared above 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius). A state of emergency was briefly declared Tuesday by Mexico’s National Center for Energy Control as electricity supplies dipped to their lowest levels since a 2021 cold snap.
India and China have been suffering through extreme heatwaves since April. Power outages in India this week have also robbed people of air conditioning and running water. Recently, the heat has killed scores of people in northern India, flooding hospitals and morgues. Beijing shattered a June temperature record today of around 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius). Cities that are industrial powerhouses in southern China urged residents and businesses to save energy, and the country’s National Energy Administration staged an emergency drill last Thursday to prepare for possible outages this summer.