by Brittany Raymer
Former Digital Writer & Editor
As a massive cold front sweeps through the country, can green energy really keep us warm?
Meteorologists across the country have told Americans to brace for a possible white Christmas, which should be seen as a test for the future of green energy in North Carolina. Can the wind turbines planned for the coasts and a sea of solar panels really keep us warm?
A white Christmas isn’t a common phenomenon in most of North Carolina, save for the mountains. This year may be the exception, since it’s possible that snow may be in the forecast for the day after Christmas. It’s part of a storm that’s impacting huge portions of the country.
From the Midwest to the Northeast, the Christmas festivities may be dampened by snow, ice, wind and a chill so bracing that some may think they’ll see a polar bear roaming by their street. It may also derail many travel plans during the busiest time of the year.
As Fox Weather explains: “Forecast details for this winter storm are now coming into focus. A far-reaching, highly impactful storm system will affect millions of people starting Wednesday, with peak impacts expected from Thursday through early Saturday (Christmas Eve).”
Blizzard conditions and severe winds are also expected in the Midwest and the Great Lakes region on Thursday and Friday.
North Carolina may not experience a blizzard, but it will be a chilly day. The Weather Channel has Raleigh in the mid-30s for a high and in the teens for a low, with Charlotte being much the same for Christmas Eve and Day. The coast will also see some colder weather, with Wilmington seeing the temperature dip down into the upper 30s and low 40s. That’s a near 30 degree drop from a high of 67 expected on Thursday, Dec. 22.
The mountains will be experiencing the brunt of the chill, with Asheville expecting a high of only 23 on Christmas Eve. In Boone, residents can expect a balmy 15 for a high and 5 for a low.
Time to break out the Canada Goose parkas.
No doubt this will put a crimp in some holiday plans, but there’s a bigger question to consider.
Given that this is the first big cold front of the reason, there is no reason to suspect that the electrical grid could fail or struggle—but will that always be the case?
As the state moves towards green energy, a wind turbine farm off the coast of Wilmington is considered the future, but what if it leaves the state cold? What if the turbines fail in a blast of cold air, or if the high wind speeds ironically make the turbines too dangerous to operate?
What if in a couple of years, North Carolinians spend Christmas in the dark because the wind turbines or solar panels failed in a big weather event? And it’s not the weather that’s the grinch, but the foolhardy obsession with pushing green energy without making sure that it can withstand seasonal tests.
And it’s important to note as well, that a cold weather event is more likely to kill the vulnerable, the elderly and children, than a hot weather event.
That’s why there should be no discussion of green energy without nuclear. While nuclear fusion power is decades away from being full harnessed and mass produced, there are plenty of nuclear power plants that can be built in the meantime. These are green and can produce massive quantities of energy—and, best of all, it’ll make sure that you and your family stay warm in cast the weather Grinch decides to make an appearance.