This Monday, the California ISO had warned around 3.3 million homes and businesses that they would be affected as an on-going heatwave continues to put pressure on the state’s electrical grid.

Utility Companies Planning Blackouts
A Stage 3 emergency required utilities like PG&E to conduct rotating outages to reduce an electrical load on the grid, in order to prevent large, unplanned blackouts.

Blackouts were somehow avoided Monday evening, with the grid operator crediting lower-than-expected temperatures and energy conservation by homes and businesses. Unfortunately, outages could still occur later in the week.

‚ÄúIt was pointed out to the Public Utilities Commission that there was inadequate power available during the net peak (i.e. the evening period when solar production dries up) but cooling demands remained high and this could have been avoided. Certainly, we will be forced to ask the utilities to cut off power to millions today to balance supply and demand‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ said Stephen Berberich, President CAISO.

Is it correct to blame renewable sources for this?
Assemblyman Jim Patterson stated, “we have purchased a lot of solar, a lot of wind and have been caught, like the rest of us, with a grid that doesn’t have enough electricity on it at the times we need it to keep the light on.”

But at the same time, he fails to explain that so much solar power is generated during the afternoon that California sometimes offers other states to take its excess supply.

Several studies have shown that running a large power grid using mostly renewable energy is technically possible and could save money because solar and wind power have become so inexpensive.

Lack of implementing policies is also a reason for these incidents. Last year, the Public Utilities Commission ordered Edison, PG&E, and other utilities to buy thousands of megawatts of new power capacity including four-hour, lithium-ion batteries that can store solar energy during the afternoon and distribute it when the sun goes down. But none of those batteries are online yet.

Our stand
The recent developments in battery storage technology have enabled us to store energy during peak production and release during peak demand, and to use when production unexpectedly falls. In recent years, as the energy crisis has intensified, energy storage has become a major focus of research in both industry and academia.