Conditions that usually accompany the kind of intense hot and cold weather that strains power grids may also provide greater opportunities to capture solar and wind energy.

A Washington State University-led study found that widespread, extreme temperature events are often accompanied by greater solar radiation and higher wind speeds that could be captured by solar panels and wind turbines. The research, which looked at extensive heat and cold waves across the six interconnected energy grid regions of the U.S. from 1980-2021, also found that every region experienced power outages during these events in the past decade.

“These extreme events are not going away anytime soon. In fact, every region in the U.S. experiences at least one such event nearly every year. We need to be prepared for their risks and ensure that people have reliable access to energy when they need it the most,” said lead author Deepti Singh, a Washington State University climate scientist.”Potentially, we could generate more power from renewable resources precisely when we have widespread extreme events that result in increased energy demand.”

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