California Preps for Potential Energy Emergency

This week, the California Department of Water Resources entered into agreements with three natural gas-fired power plants to purchase additional power. The three Southern California power plants were slated to be close within the next few months but will come online should the grid experience an emergency this summer. The contracts total up to $1.2 billion.

The agreement hinges on approval from the State Water Resources Control Board—the entity responsible for issuing the water permits that cool the plants—as well as the California Energy Commission. The agencies will meet later this week to consider the agreements.

California, a state that has championed green energy technologies and a transition to net-zero emissions, has experienced energy emergencies in the past. In 2020, the state saw rolling blackouts amid a heat wave due to lack of energy supplies for the first time in 20 years. In September of 2022, a spokeswoman for Governor Gavin Newsom urged residents not to charge their electric vehicles between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. to avoid grid failure. Funnily enough, the plea came a week after California approved a plan to ban the future sale of new gasoline cars. If California wants the entire state on EVs, will their power grid have enough baseload power to support the transition?

Now, with the middle of the summer fast approaching, it seems California is coming to its senses and embracing reliable and efficient natural gas. Hopefully, California does not experience any rolling blackouts this summer. If the state does, it will have natural gas to thank for its brief spell in the dark.

Similar Posts