Renewed concerns over climate change and infrastructure as Alberta energy grid woes persist – National

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Alberta energy grid woes renew concerns over climate change and infrastructure - National



“Alberta’s Energy Grid Woes: Is Canada’s Critical Infrastructure Ready for Climate Change?”

Severe cold weather and power facility outages have caused the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) to ask residents to limit their energy use. The ongoing struggle has sparked concerns about the preparedness of Canada’s critical infrastructure systems in the face of extreme weather and climate change. As Canada experiences increasing threats from natural, intentional, and accidental hazards, it is crucial to consider the potential impacts on the country’s power grids, telecommunications systems, and finance and transportation networks.

Challenges of Managing Critical Infrastructure

Canada’s critical infrastructure systems are the shared responsibility of various levels of government and public and private sector groups. Managing these systems and addressing potential problems can be complex and, at times, difficult to navigate. The complexity of the risks involved has been heightened by the interdependencies among different types of critical infrastructure, which can lead to cascading effects and prolonged loss of essential services.

Rapidly Evolving Threats

As Canada faces evolving threats such as foreign interference, cybersecurity, and public health crises, it is essential to update approaches to critical infrastructure security and resilience. The increasing concern over cyber threats, demonstrated by the Colonial Pipeline shutdown and ransomware attacks on various organizations, signals the need for heightened vigilance in safeguarding critical infrastructure systems.

A Call to Action

The world is experiencing increasingly volatile climate changes, including extreme weather swings, growing drought fears, and record wildfire seasons. Canada is expecting a 2024 marked by above-normal temperatures and a below-normal snowpack, which poses concerns for future wildfire seasons. The heavy use of air conditioning during hot weather also places additional strain on the power grid and heightens the risk of blackouts. This calls for a reevaluation of energy security and readiness to meet the escalating electrical demands on the system.

Conclusion

As Canada’s critical infrastructure systems face a myriad of challenges from climate change, cybersecurity threats, and rapid technological advancements, it is crucial for stakeholders to address potential vulnerabilities and work towards enhancing the resilience of these systems. The acknowledgment of the evolving risks and threats to critical infrastructure is crucial in striving to ensure the security and stability of Canada’s essential services. With collective efforts, proactive measures, and strategic planning, Canada can better prepare its critical infrastructure systems for the challenges of the future.



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