California At High Risk of Blackouts this Labor Day

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    The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) released a new “Flex Alert” for Monday that extended the time frame during which it has asked customers to refrain from using big appliances and electric vehicles. They are also asked to set thermostats to 78 degrees.

    It is worth noting that the “Flex Alerts” for the preceding five days ran between 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. The latest Flex Alert will extend until 10:00 p.m.

    In the statement, CAISO said: “Power grid conditions are expected to be squeezed today, with the potential of shortfalls in supply. But the days of Monday and Tuesday are predicted to be the most difficult days to date with the hottest temperatures predicted for Tuesday and anticipated demand for electricity of fifty,099 megawatts (MW) … A number of generators are gone, making supply tighter.”

    The San Francisco Chronicle published:

    The demand for electricity topped 44,000 megawatts last Sunday, but is predicted to surge significantly on Labor Day as the worst of the heat sets in. The forecast puts it at 48,867 megawatts for Monday and 50,099 megawatts by Tuesday. This is close to a record high and reflects both the continued scorching temperatures and also the fact Californians typically consume more energy on weekends than weekdays. The demand could reach 49,000 megawatts on Wednesday, and stay at a high level throughout the week.

    For a better understanding, California has exceeded 50,000 megawatts of power only two times in the last 20 years. The record for all time was 50,270 on July 24 in 2006. California's demand hit 50,116 one day in 2017.

    Officials have said that the grid is likely to be in various states of emergency on Monday even if blackouts can be avoided, and one of the main goals is to keep demand at a lower level than what was forecast. A preliminary stage of emergency alert was announced for Monday between 5 and 10 p.m. The earlier stage of alerts were in place Sunday between 5 and 8 p.m.

    They have garnered national attention due to the fact that they came just a few days after state officials approved rules that require California drivers to purchase electric vehicles by 2035. The concern lies in the fact that state authorities might not let you charge the car if they force you to purchase.

    The state was hit with the same issue in 2020 when a natural gas facility was shut down in the heat of summer and the wind and solar power were unable to meet the peak demand, resulting in blackouts. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) advised Californians to “sober up” about the potential of renewable energy but he then announced the electric car mandate within a few weeks like if the blackouts were never there.

    According to estimates, the transition of the fleet of passenger vehicles to electric vehicles will increase the demand for electricity by 30%.

    The forecast calls for temperatures to rise to the temperature of 100 degrees F within Los Angeles; 83 degrees in San Francisco; and 110 degrees in Fresno. This heatwave is predicted to last until the end of the week and temperatures of between 10 and 25 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the norm for this time of the year.

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