The unfinished business of preparing Canada’s power grids for extreme weather
By Carl Meyer
The climate resiliency of electricity grids across North America is coming under closer examination following a winter storm in the United States that has killed 47 people and has left millions of others in the freezing cold.
While Canada’s electrical grids don’t face nearly the same set of problems faced by Texas — for one, Canadian natural gas plants and wind turbines are built to withstand cold temperatures — experts in climate adaptation say transmission and distribution lines in the Great White North are still at risk.
They are warning that the electricity sector and other key infrastructure operators should be going through a self-examination process to determine vulnerabilities to climate change and extreme weather — and, in cases where they find themselves deficient, building to a higher standard than before.
Asked what grade he’d give Canada’s electricity grids in terms of climate resilience, Francis Bradley, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Electricity Association, the industry group that represents power generation, transmission and distribution companies, said “it’s a work in progress.”