State energy officials asked the California Independent System Operator, which runs most of the grid, to contract for additional power capacity for July and August on concern it won’t be able to meet demand during the evening when solar production fades, according to a joint statement Thursday from grid, utility and energy agencies.
They didn’t say how much more power is needed but one can guess it will be a lot.
Of course, there was a convenient scapegoat on which to blame the collective lack of competence: global warming.
“California is using all available tools to increase electricity reliability this summer,” the heads of the California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, and grid operator said citing “unprecedented climate change-driven heat events, which are occurring throughout the West in combination with drought conditions that reduce hydroelectric capacity.”
Right, it’s always someone else’s fault that you could not properly budget even a few months in advance after keeping millions of people in the dark last year when California again blamed… global warming. But if you know there is global warming, and you suffer one nightmare summer in the dark because of it, can’t you extrapolate at least a year into the future?
In California, the answer is no.
Their statement underscores California’s challenges in the coming months as it begins summer already parched by drought that’s leaving hydroelectric reservoirs at historic lows. The state narrowly avoided rolling power outages recently as extreme heat came early this year, and with few new generation sources on the immediate horizon supplies tighten when hot weather hits.
California has taken a number of steps including adding battery storage (which some may recall was a complete disaster last summer) to prevent blackouts such as those in August, when demand overwhelmed the grid. However, the state has grown concerned that that the increases aren’t enough, according to the letter.