Power Shortage Forebodes More Blackouts In California’s FutureMay 12, 2022
According to the California Public Utilities Commission, the state of California could be short nearly 1,700 megawatts of power this summer. That’s enough energy for about 1.3 million homes. And it could get worse. That gap may expand to as much as 1,800 megawatts by 2025. This does not include problems that could arise due to extreme heat waves or wildfires that can take down power line. The commission also expects electricity rate increases of between 4% and 9% between now and 2025.
The California Public Utilities Commission blames climate-change for the problem.
Only one week before this announcement, California Governor Gavin Newsome said he would support extending the life of the state’s remaining nuclear power plant to make up for the shortage and to maintain reliability as the state transitions to a carbon-free electrical grid.
During the past two summers, the state has struggled to keep power flowing. In a plan to expand out their recourses, grid operators have imposed brief rotating blackouts in 2020 during extreme heat waves. Officials cautioned potential shortages last summer and blackouts were imposed after the governor declared a grid emergency. The action helped to free up additional power resources.
The time when the grid authorities must deal most with the problem is during hot evenings in late summer and early fall. This is when solar production falls due to sunset as demand for air-conditioning spikes.
To try to overcome the shortfall, California authorities have ordered utilities to buy thousands of megawatts of new supplies including batteries that can soak up excess solar energy during the day and then release power in the evening.
Despite all of this, a global supply-chain issue and other problems have delayed nearly 600 megawatts of new clean energy projects, according to the vice chair of the California Energy Commission. Severe drought has also compounded the problem causing a reduction of output from the state’s hydroelectric dams.
California has tried to use some unique plans to attempt to slow down the use of power this summer. These plans include a program that pays customers to reduce their energy use in periods of high demand.
In addition, many solar farms and energy storage projects that have been ordered in the last two wears have been delayed due to supply chain issues because of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent federal trade investigations into solar imports.
Although things look bad, the California Public Utilities Commission assures that things are better than they were last year. They warned, however, that things could occur that can make conditions worst and called on California residents to be prepared.
California has some of the most aggressive climate change policies in the world, including a goal to produce all of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045.
It is obvious that the problem of supplying enough power to U.S. residents is an expanding problem. As a homeowner it is up to you to assure that you and your family get power regardless of what happens with state government regulations or weather conditions. Consider buying a standalone generator to assure that your home is power outage-free.
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