Even before the hottest months last summer, utility providers in California warned they might cut power during windy days to prevent wildfires caused by falling power lines. This summer we might face a similar situation.
California’s top energy regulators expressed that they are better prepared this time, but they warned the power grid in the state is still vulnerable to extreme heatwaves. In a nutshell, there may be more outages later this year.
From New Mexico to Washington, power grids are already being stressed due to increased demand in consumption. In such a situation, if a more intense heatwave met the entire west coast region at once, history may repeat itself and we may see more frequent blackouts as it happened in Southern California and Silicon Valley last August.
Elliot Mainzer, President, and CEO of the California Independent Systems Operator told state lawmakers during a hearing “The most significant risk factor for grid reliability remains extreme heat, particularly heat that spreads across the wider western United States. And it continues to get hotter every year.”
First California, then Texas, and now the entire western U.S. is under the threat of more frequent blackouts. Why this happening? What did they miss/oversight while managing their electricity need?
1. Unprecedented extreme weather
Climate change is really making it harder to forecast demand for electricity. It is no longer a California issue or a Texas issue. It is extreme weather that makes the task (transition towards renewables) more difficult.
2. State-wide shuttering coal & gas-fired power plants
Moving away from coal and gas-fired power plants is a necessary step in this nation’s transition towards a carbon-neutral economy. Shutting off coal and gas plants and not installing adequate renewable energy sources to handle demand is not the best decision most the states in US West had taken in the past.
3. Failed to consider/install batteries.
“Energy storage is actually the true bridge to a clean-energy future,” says Bernadette Del Chiaro, Executive Director of the California Solar and Storage Association. A battery extends the usefulness of a PV system by providing free, sustainable power even when the sun is not shining. Actually, a solar + storage solution can make fossil fuel obsolete.
California is currently the global leader in the effort to balance the intermittency of renewable energy in electric grids with utility-scale batteries. States in US West must follow the suit. These are batteries, who make California better positioned to go into this summer.
We must remember that we all are still going through a learning phase. We must discover a lot of things and know about how to run this system (grid). Because situations are not the same, the weather differs and equipment & technology are distinctive.
As our grid continues to age and extreme weather continues to pose a threat, it becomes more evident that not only business owners, but homeowners also need energy security. Especially now when families spend more time together at home than ever. A Solar + Storage solution can work for you!
Call Staten for a smooth transition towards renewables. Go Solar!