PIERRE, S. D.(AlphaMedia)- A prolonged, bitterly cold stretch of weather brought the electric grid to its knees Tuesday.
South Dakota rural electric cooperatives began implementing rolling blackouts that morning in response to overwhelming demand for power during record-setting low temperatures and wind chills.
The Southwest Power Pool, which covers a group of utilities across 14 states, including South Dakota, flipped the switch to rolling outages when reserve energy supplies had been exhausted.
Chris Nelson is the chairman of South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission…
NELSON 1 (:31) Q: point.
Nelson says an event like this points out the importance of the future makeup of the power grid across the country…and where that power comes from…
NELSON 2 (:25) Q: wind energy.
During this cold snap, there hasn’t been a lot of wind energy being produced. Nelson says reliable sources of power such as coal still need to be part of the equation…
NELSON 3 (:17) Q: cold spells.
The power blackouts included Codington-Clark Electric, Southeastern Electric, Northern Electric, FEM Electric and Sioux Valley Energy customers in South Dakota.
Many of the planned blackouts lasted around one hour.