The state of Calif., this week is set to break another record and it’s not a box office take by any means. With the West Coast heating up to triple-digit temps amid “firenados” and peak electricity demand soaring, the first rolling blackouts since the 2001 energy crisis have unfurled, leaving residents face-melting and a governor declaring a state of emergency. Shortfalls in the power grid have literally forced these blackouts to conserve electrical capacity in a state that now relies on imported power, solar and wind. But a shortage of import energy from neighboring states that also are experiencing record heat or have shuttered their generating capacity, has put Calif., in a most precarious situation as it battles a potential grid collapse vs the state’s mantra to shift to renewable power resources.
Calif., since 2018 has shut down numerous natural gas-fired electrical plants that provided 5 gigawatts of power generation. The state plans to shut down even more, asking residents during the current heatwave to restrict their usage, avoid using major appliances between 3 pm and 10 pm, and reserve air conditioning early in the day to reduce load on the grid. The most recent blackouts have forced utilities to cut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers between 6 pm and 8 pm when solar generation drops to zero. Calif., is now calling for 4,000 megawatts of electrical power to boost its grid.
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