Newsom Has a Plan to Keep the Lights on in California — Using Fossil Fuels

A controversial plan from Gov. Gavin Newsom would reshape how business is done on the California power grid, potentially helping to extend the life of beachfront gas plants and the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, making it easier for solar and wind farm developers to sidestep local government opposition, and limiting environmental reviews for all kinds of energy projects.

State lawmakers could vote as early as Wednesday night on the polarizing legislation, whose text was revealed late Sunday.

The West, Reliant on Hydro, May Miss It During Heat Waves

When California suffers a heat wave, it leans heavily on hydropower from the Pacific Northwest to keep the lights on.

But that hydropower may not always be available when it’s most needed, as climate change is shifting the ground on which the West’s dams sit. Higher temperatures means snowmelt occurs earlier in the year and leaves less water available for power generation during the depths of summer.

Vast Swath of US at Risk of Summer Blackouts, Regulator Warns

A vast swath of North America from the Great Lakes to the West Coast is at risk of blackouts this summer as heat, drought, shuttered power plants and supply-chain woes strain the electric grid.

Power supplies in much of the US and part of Canada will be stretched, with demand growing again after two years of pandemic disruptions, according to an annual report. It’s among the most dire assessments yet from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a regulatory body that oversees grid stability.

San Vicente Pumped-Storage Electricity Project Moves Ahead

The San Diego County Water Authority and city of San Diego have decided to move forward with environmental review of a pumped-storage electricity generating plant at the San Vicente Reservoir in East County.

The project entails creating a new, smaller reservoir above the giant city-owned lake, a tunnel between the two, and underground pump turbines. Water would be pumped to the upper reservoir when there is excess power on the grid, then drawn down to generate electricity when needed.

Wildfires, Drought and Blackouts: California’s Climate Change Nightmare Is Already Here

After last year’s historic wildfire season, two nights of blackouts and a dry winter that raised alarm bells about another drought, California knew a difficult summer lay head.

Head of California Grid Expresses ‘Guarded Optimism’ About Avoiding Summer Blackouts

The head of California’s electric grid said Wednesday he is “guardedly optimistic” that the state will avoid rotating blackouts this summer, but warned that voluntary cooperation during Flex Alerts will be necessary.

Elliot Mainzer, president and CEO of the California Independent System Operator, said utilities throughout the state have built up power reserves and invested in new technology like battery storage to prevent blackouts like the ones in 2020.

But recent record heat in California and the Pacific Northwest combined with a drought that will reduce hydropower give him cause for concern.

California is Scrambling to Avoid Blackouts. Your Refrigerator Could Help

Sometime next summer, there’s a decent chance a heat wave will bake the American West, and California’s power grid will again be stretched to its limits. As the sun sets, solar panels will start generating less electricity even as temperatures remain high. Power plants that burn natural gas will fire up as quickly as possible, in a race to keep air conditioners blowing and avert the need for rolling blackouts.

Opinion: California’s Energy System Should Be Resilient, Flexible and Affordable

As essential service providers, utilities are responsible for helping to ensure the health and well-being of our communities. The weight of that responsibility has gotten heavier as climate change and the pandemic take its toll on our beautiful state and the people who live here.

Report: A Combination of Factors Caused California’s Rolling Blackouts in August

Climate Change and Poor Planning Blamed for California Blackouts

A report by California energy officials on Tuesday placed blame for rolling blackouts that left millions without power in August on the impact of climate change and outdated policies and practices that failed to adequately take into account hotter weather.