California Risks a Long, Hot Summer of Blackouts

CommentaryCalifornia’s unreal vision of an ecotopian future finally may catch up with it this summer. That’s according to numbers in the new “2022 Summer Reliability Assessment” from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. It covers the four months of June-September 2022 for the six Regional Entities, with California in the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, which covers the Western states. The WECC is further broken down into four sub-entities, of which California and parts of Nevada and Baja California, Mexico belong to WECC-CA/MX. According to the SRA, “Localized short-term operational issues may occur due to wildfires, droughts, and/or supply chain issues. As cooling degree days continue to rise across the Western Interconnection, there is a risk that is higher than the historical average of prolonged heatwave events.” The “heatwave events” would increase electricity use for air-conditioning, boosting the chance of blackouts. That’s also explained in this passage of bureaucratic language: “Above-normal summer peak load and outage conditions could result in the need to employ operating mitigations (i.e., demand response and transfers) and EEAs. Load shedding may be needed under extreme peak demand and outage scenarios studied.” The parentheses are in the original. EEAs are energy emergency alerts—blackouts. Check out this chart for California’s area from the study: It shows how California is dependent on natural gas for almost three-fourths of its electricity. So much for solar, geothermal and other “renewables” taking over to supply electrons to all those nice Teslas and other eco-friendly electric cars. The highest risk time is assessed to be “at 8:00 p.m. local time as solar PV [photovoltaic] output is diminished and demand remains high.” That is, the sun goes down even as evening air-conditioning use rises. Comparison to British Columbia Compare the WECC CA/MX grid to that of our Western neighbor, British Columbia, called WECC-NWPP-BC on the map above. For BC, the study found, “Reserve margins are up across the board and adequate. … On the peak risk hour at 6:00 p.m. local time, under a summer peak … BC is expected to have sufficient resource availability to meet demand and cover reserves.” Compare California’s chart, above, to this chart for British Columbia: British Columbia’s electricity generation derives more than 90 percent from hydro resources. Obviously there are major differences between BC and California. BC has greater water resources and a lower population, while California’s southern area basically is an irrigated desert. Still, as Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) has pointed out for decades, beginning when he was a state senator and assemblyman, California just refuses to build adequate dams and reservoirs. “Droughts are nature’s fault, they happen; water shortages, that’s our fault,” he said last year before a U.S. House hearing of its Committee on Natural Resources. “They are a choice we made when we stopped building dams and reservoirs. … We are not going to solve our water shortages until we build new facilities. We are a special kind of stupid.” Getting back to the SRA, here’s the chart of its assessment of the WECC-CA/MX area. Notice: “Total Internal Demand” is up 3.4 percent in 2022 over 2021. And “Demand Response: Available” is down -8.4 percent. If demand is up and available resources are down, there’s a problem. My recommendation: Stock up on candles. Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Follow John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. He has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com

California Risks a Long, Hot Summer of Blackouts

Commentary

California’s unreal vision of an ecotopian future finally may catch up with it this summer. That’s according to numbers in the new “2022 Summer Reliability Assessment” from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. It covers the four months of June-September 2022 for the six Regional Entities, with California in the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, which covers the Western states.

Epoch Times Photo

The WECC is further broken down into four sub-entities, of which California and parts of Nevada and Baja California, Mexico belong to WECC-CA/MX. According to the SRA, “Localized short-term operational issues may occur due to wildfires, droughts, and/or supply chain issues. As cooling degree days continue to rise across the Western Interconnection, there is a risk that is higher than the historical average of prolonged heatwave events.”

The “heatwave events” would increase electricity use for air-conditioning, boosting the chance of blackouts. That’s also explained in this passage of bureaucratic language: “Above-normal summer peak load and outage conditions could result in the need to employ operating mitigations (i.e., demand response and transfers) and EEAs. Load shedding may be needed under extreme peak demand and outage scenarios studied.” The parentheses are in the original. EEAs are energy emergency alerts—blackouts.

Check out this chart for California’s area from the study:

Epoch Times Photo

It shows how California is dependent on natural gas for almost three-fourths of its electricity. So much for solar, geothermal and other “renewables” taking over to supply electrons to all those nice Teslas and other eco-friendly electric cars.

The highest risk time is assessed to be “at 8:00 p.m. local time as solar PV [photovoltaic] output is diminished and demand remains high.” That is, the sun goes down even as evening air-conditioning use rises.

Comparison to British Columbia

Compare the WECC CA/MX grid to that of our Western neighbor, British Columbia, called WECC-NWPP-BC on the map above. For BC, the study found, “Reserve margins are up across the board and adequate. … On the peak risk hour at 6:00 p.m. local time, under a summer peak … BC is expected to have sufficient resource availability to meet demand and cover reserves.”

Compare California’s chart, above, to this chart for British Columbia:

Epoch Times Photo

British Columbia’s electricity generation derives more than 90 percent from hydro resources. Obviously there are major differences between BC and California. BC has greater water resources and a lower population, while California’s southern area basically is an irrigated desert.

Still, as Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) has pointed out for decades, beginning when he was a state senator and assemblyman, California just refuses to build adequate dams and reservoirs.

“Droughts are nature’s fault, they happen; water shortages, that’s our fault,” he said last year before a U.S. House hearing of its Committee on Natural Resources. “They are a choice we made when we stopped building dams and reservoirs. … We are not going to solve our water shortages until we build new facilities. We are a special kind of stupid.”

Getting back to the SRA, here’s the chart of its assessment of the WECC-CA/MX area. Notice: “Total Internal Demand” is up 3.4 percent in 2022 over 2021. And “Demand Response: Available” is down -8.4 percent.

If demand is up and available resources are down, there’s a problem. My recommendation: Stock up on candles.

Epoch Times Photo

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. He has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at JohnSeiler.Substack.com