Facing high temperatures and a taxed electrical grid California is asking for energy conservation measures in an attempt to avoid possible outages, including rolling blackouts.
California Independent System Operator (CAISO) issued a heat bulletin forecasting high electricity demand that will stress the power grid with demand expected to peak on Sept. 5, 2022, at more than 48 gigawatts, which will be the highest of the year. As a result, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency, and CAISO issued a flex alert for Aug. 31 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. urging Californians to conserve power to reduce the chance of energy disruptions.
CAISO is predicting energy supply deficiencies of 3 GW during the evening hours from Sept. 4 through Sept. 6 and implementing early interventions could help users create contingency plans for that time, officials say. Temperatures in the state are expected to exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the period, which are 10 to 20 degrees above normal, surpassing 110 degrees in some areas.
CAISO may also issue energy emergency alert levels 2 and 3 if conditions worsen. For a level 1 alert energy deficiencies are expected and the use of supplemental energy and ancillary services are encouraged while uses observe conservation measures. For a level 2 alert, CAISO will request emergency energy from all resources and will activate its emergency demand response program.
As part of the conservation measures over the next week, California is loosening some of its energy regulations to ensure grid reliability. That includes power plants producing as much energy as possible, suspending waste discharge requirements for thermal power plants, increasing and allowing the use of stationary and mobile generators, and allowing the use of auxiliary engines by vessels at the state’s ports.
Additionally, Newsome urged lawmakers to keep a nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County open until 2035, according to the Los Angeles Times. The plant is slated to close in 2025 and generated 6% of the state’s electricity last year.
The state has faced energy problems in the past, including rolling blackouts in 2020 as a result of widespread wildfires. That has led utilities in the state to build microgrids, remote power systems, and added battery storage in an attempt to increase resiliency and avoid similar outages.
California isn’t alone in emergency grid measures in 2022. Texas has urged energy conservation twice during extreme-temperature events this season.