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CA Energy Shortages Show the Need for Load Management

Todd Carney's picture
Writer Freelance

Todd Carney is a graduate of Harvard Law School. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Communications. He writes on many different aspects of energy, in particular how it...

  • Member since 2021
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  • May 15, 2022
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ABC News reports that with the extreme hot weather, California will likely face dramatic energy shortages. This is coupled with other threats in the area like droughts and wildfires, and national issues such as supply chain problems.

CA’s governing bodies on energy have projected that CA will fall short for energy by 1,700 megawatts during peak periods of heat due to the fact that people will be using air conditioners the most during these times. This would be the equivalent of not powering about 1.3 million homes. There is a “doomsday” scenario where the state could be 5,000 megawatts short, which would be the equivalent of 3.75 million homes.

Droughts further contribute to these issues because hydropower can provide as much as 14 percent of the power for the state, so if there is not water available, then there is even less electricity to use. Many potential problems are dependent on external factors. For example, the magnitude of the issues could increase if the whole West faces a heat wave at the same time.

Another complication is that the state is trying to transition to carbon-free energy resources and they are retiring many Nuclear Plants, so that limits where the state can receive energy.

The CA Governor’s office is attempting to provide solutions in terms of load management, and looking to potentially put off some transitioning to carbon free resources. Part of the issue is that some the carbon free resources’ availability is dependent on the weather. For example, the ability to preserve solar energy when the sun is not out is limited.

In the meantime, the state is also asking for help from the people of CA to preserve energy, by not running their air conditioners as high, and limiting their water usage. Some companies are even offering certain incentives to use less energy. Situations like this show the need for more load management.

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