Walters: Blackouts reveal lapses in power supply

California is in a Depression.  Guv Newsom has killed hundreds of thousands of jobs, refuses to allow the tourist or entertainment industry to open and we will lose at least half the restaurants in the State—San Fran has already reached this “goal”.  The virus has taken away education and prayers, while the Governor will allow, over the next YEAR to only open the State 50%.  Just enough to provide assistance to those fleeing.

“Gov. Gavin Newsom quickly demanded that the three overseers of electrical service to most of the state – the Public Utilities Commission, the Energy Commission and the California Independent Service Operator – explain what went wrong.

“These blackouts, which occurred without prior warning or enough time for preparation, are unacceptable and unbefitting of the nation’s largest and most innovative state,” Newsom wrote. “This cannot stand. California residents and businesses deserve better from their government.”

Newsom needs to look in the mirror to see who is responsible for making our power supply as reliable as the power supply in Venezuela.  He supported ending of coal and nuclear as a power source.  He is closing fossil fuel as a power source.  To replace all this he wants wind turbines and solar panels.  These are extremely expensive—forcing families and businesses out of the State.  The energy policy of Newsom will continue the current Depression for years.

Blackouts reveal lapses in power supply

by Dan Walters, CalMatters,  10/18/20  

In summary

Power blackouts in August proved California’s need for a bigger supply cushion — and indicated that transition to a carbon-free future will not be easy.

One hallmark of an advanced society is a reliable supply of electrical energy for residential, commercial and industrial consumers.

Uncertainty that power will be there when we need it it undermines social cohesion and economic progress – as demonstrated by the travails of poor nations with erratic energy supplies.

California got a small dose of that syndrome in mid-August when a record heat wave struck the state and utilities were ordered to impose rolling blackouts to protect the grid from melting down under heavy air conditioning demands.

Gov. Gavin Newsom quickly demanded that the three overseers of electrical service to most of the state – the Public Utilities Commission, the Energy Commission and the California Independent Service Operator – explain what went wrong.

“These blackouts, which occurred without prior warning or enough time for preparation, are unacceptable and unbefitting of the nation’s largest and most innovative state,” Newsom wrote. “This cannot stand. California residents and businesses deserve better from their government.”

Initially, there was some fingerpointing among the three entities. The blackouts had been ordered by the California Independent System Operator, which manages the grid and its president, Steve Berberich, said he had warned the Public Utilities Commission about the potential supply shortfall.

“We have indicated in filing after filing after filing that the resource adequacy program was broken and needed to be fixed,” he said. “The situation we are in could have been avoided.”

However, as political heat increased, the three agencies hung together and produced a joint report that admitted to lapses of supply planning and grid management and promised steps to avoid a repeat next summer.

“The existing resource planning processes are not designed to fully address an extreme heat storm like the one experienced in mid August,” their report said. “In transitioning to a reliable, clean and affordable resource mix, resource planning targets have not kept pace to lead to sufficient resources that can be relied upon to meet demand in the early evening hours. This makes balancing demand and supply more challenging.”

Although California’s grid had experienced greater heat-related demands in previous years, most notably 2006, managers then could draw standby power from natural gas-fired plants and import juice from other states.

Since then, the state has shut down a number of gas-fired plants and become more reliant on renewable but less reliable sources such as windmills and solar panels.

August’s air conditioning demand peaked just as output from solar panels was declining with the setting of the sun and grid managers couldn’t tap enough electrons from other sources to close the gap.

While the shift to renewables didn’t, unto itself, cause the blackouts, they proved the need for a bigger cushion of backup generation or power storage in batteries or some other technology. The Public Utilities Commission, as Beberich suggested, has been somewhat lax in ordering development of backup supply.

In the aftermath of the blackouts, the state Water Resources Control Board, no doubt with direction from Newsom’s office, postponed planned shutdowns of more coastal plants, which would have reduced supply flexibility even more.

Shifting to 100% renewable electricity, the state’s eventual goal, while maintaining reliability will not get any easier. The state’s last nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, is ticketed for closure and demand will increase as California eliminates gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles in favor of “zero emission vehicles” and phases out natural gas in homes and businesses.

Politicians such as Newsom and legislators in last week’s blackout hearing may endorse a carbon-free future in theory, but they know that they’ll pay the price if nothing happens when Californians flip the switch.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. residents and businesses deserve better from their government…………………..

    Really???

    How about government getting out of the way and letting the private sector succeed?

    Democrats = big government
    Democrats = high taxes
    Democrats = oppressive regulation

    Any questions? And why are you still voting Democrat?

  2. And if Newsom has his way with mass imposition of electric cars, the grid will only be stressed further. Decades of under investment in the grid and power generation while the population doubled, along with the same short-sighted thinking regarding the water supply, has lead to this predicament.

    No matter how many more solar panels and wind turbines are erected, the lynch pin of a large-scale storage system sits years away. In the meantime, expect more entreaties from the potentates to refrain from electricity usage when the grid reaches its breaking point during future, inevitable heat waves.

    It is a wonder California can keep functioning on any basis with the inept politicos and bureaucrats at every level of state and local government. They have run the state into the ground while boosting their oversized compensation and pension packages at every opportunity. Pay for performance? What a pipe dream!

Speak Your Mind

*