California prepares to prevent power outages, but the threat still exists

Sacramento, California (Associated Press)-California’s top energy regulator said on Tuesday that the state was better prepared to avoid rotating power outages last summer, but they warned that the state’s most populous state still has power grids. Vulnerable to extreme heat waves, which may cause more power outages later this year.

State officials say they may have added 3,500 megawatts of power generation capacity before the hot summer, which may increase demand to levels that the grid cannot afford. This includes an additional 2,000 megawatts of batteries, which are used to store energy produced by renewable energy sources (such as solar energy), which stop working when it gets dark.

Usually, one megawatt of energy is enough to power hundreds of homes, depending on how it is produced.

“Does this mean we are clear? Elliot Mainzer, president and chief executive officer of the California Independent System Operator, told state legislators at a supervisory hearing on Tuesday. “The biggest risk factor for grid reliability. It is still extremely hot, especially the heat spreading throughout the western United States. And it gets hotter and hotter every year. “

Power outages during the huge heat wave are not only inconvenient for vulnerable people, but can also cause many other problems in the deadly digital age, which rely on electricity to complete everything from business transactions to Facebook posts.

Power outages are becoming more and more common in California, because utility companies often deliberately shut off power when it gets too windy during the dry summer to prevent overturned power lines from triggering wildfires, for example, killing 85 people and destroying most of Michigan The fire in Tiantang Town, Zhouzhou. 2018.

However, due to energy shortages, the August power outage was the first in nearly 20 years, which made California’s request to make 100% of its energy sourced from renewable sources more scrutinized.

Congressman Chris Holden, a Pasadena Democrat and Chairman of the Public Utilities and Energy Committee, said: “This summer will be an important test for the state.” “California is at the vanguard of renewable energy policy. The country and the world are watching how we integrate renewable energy, and hope that we can ensure reliability.”

Marybel Batjer, chairman of the California Public Utilities Commission, told lawmakers on Tuesday that California’s plan to survive the summer includes buying electricity from “places that are not clean.” She did not disclose the source of the information, but she said that the regulator chose to purchase the information because they wanted to do everything possible to prevent power outages this summer due to “health and safety considerations.”

Batje said: “I want to make it clear that our planning and implementation of a clean energy future is moving forward and will only accelerate in the coming months and years.”

The next round of power outages may bring political worries to Governor Gavin Newsom (Gavin Newsom), who may face a recall election later this year. In 2003, former Democratic Governor Gary Davis was removed from office in the recall election, largely due to his deregulation of energy supply and market manipulation by Enron and other companies The resulting continuous power outages.

Newsom’s election was largely due to anger at his handling of the pandemic. However, alternate power outages, no matter how short, may hurt him because he is trying to inspire confidence in voters and he should keep his job.

Since air conditioning cools the house during the hottest part of the day, energy demand usually peaks in the late afternoon. As the temperature drops, the demand usually subsides at night. But this did not happen in August, when the temperature in most parts of the western United States was 20 degrees higher than normal.

The demand on the weekend of August 14-15 was so high that state regulators ordered utilities to intentionally shut down certain people’s power to prevent a more widespread blackout across the grid, which lasted from 8 minutes to two and a half minutes hour. hour.

Newsom declared a state of emergency because state officials took drastic action to seek more power. These include the California Energy Commission Chairman David Hochschild (David Hochschild) asking the U.S. Navy to use diesel engines to power ships instead of relying on land power.

Batje said: “We have to do a lot of things, we never want to do it again.”

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