There are two primary reasons for blackouts in California. Insufficient generation capacity and infrastructure that can’t deliver power to where it’s necessary. Market issues may cause another trigger. Let’s explore these ideas.
The California blackouts and why they took place
The infamous rolling blackout that occurred in California around two decades ago was due to the Enron-fueled energy crisis. The first case since then was last year. Poor planning, as well as heatwaves in Los Angeles, are triggers of blackouts. The California Independent System Operator, also known as CAISO, runs most of the state’s power grid. Additionally, they are in charge of ensuring that this doesn’t occur again. The recent rolling blackouts were caused by a heatwave that occurred in California that spiked up demand. The State did not have enough resources to fulfil the demand, and they fell into a sudden blackout. It took place because of weather conditions and lack of planning. As a result, San Diego and most of California were in darkness.
Solutions offered by the state
To avoid rotating outages, the head of CAISO President and Chief Executive Officer Elliot Mainzer approached the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ask if California could hold power meant for other states to reduce triggers of blackouts and FERC agreed. As a result, many other states and Utility providers were outraged, but as of now, they haven’t rerouted power that was meant for another state.
Additionally, The Executive director of the California Alliance for Renewable Energy Solutions mentioned in a statement that Energy storage for long periods is the key to avoiding blackouts. As they can store and distribute large amounts of renewable energy, they should invest in storage projects while they can.
What Residents Can Do To Avoid Triggers of Blackouts
As a resident or business, a good option would be to invest in solar modules. It can be helpful by deriving power from the heat instead of depending on the grid. If you also choose to invest in a battery, for example, the Tesla Powerwall, you can store the energy left over to use during the night when there is no sun.
Since California was one of the first states to set a goal to reach 100% clean energy, it will help in the future in the case of blackouts. They currently have 29.9 GW of solar power and 6 GW of wind power, which is still growing!