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California Needs MORE Clean Energy and Electricity Storage To Boost Grid; Biden/Harris Climate Plan Can Deliver It


Climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels is making brutal, killing heat waves much worse all over the U.S., including in California, where record temperatures are causing deadly wildfires and massive new demand for air conditioning on the electrical grid.

Because of these high temperatures and increased electricity use, some areas of the state have endured blackouts, which all responsible sources including the California Independant System Operator (CASIO), who manages the grid, say have been caused by the of the inability of the CAISO to bring on many existing power plants which should have been available. As the New York Times

NYT
noted, “power plants with the ability to produce almost 6,000 megawatts, or about 15 percent of the electricity on California’s grid, were reported as being offline when temperatures surged last Friday. (a) shortfall…experts believe officials should have been able to avoid.”

But make no mistake, the underlying cause of the higher temperatures and wildfires that have created this crisis is climate change, as numerous studies have shown. Western fires now consume twice the acreage they did in 1984, according to a study by the University of Idaho and Columbia University, which also found the main cause was higher temperatures and drier conditions due to climate change. These trends are increasing as the frequency of large fires on public lands has grown 500 per cent in the last 40 years and average forest temperatures have risen by 2.5 degrees. California is just one of many states facing higher land management and emergency response costs due to climate change. In fact, just last week in Death Valley, California the temperatures reached 130 degrees, the highest August temperature ever registered anywhere on earth in recorded history.

Yet the immediate cause of the blackouts themselves, again, has been mismanagement by the CAISO. In fact, the CAISO itself says the answer to the grid problem is more investment in clean energy, electricity storage, and grid reliability — not less.

As the Washington Examiner reported today, “Steve Berberich, CAISO’s chief executive, has called for a greater buildout of renewables and energy storage to help balance the grid. A surplus of renewable energy, he said, can be used to charge batteries that can be used when the electricity supply is stressed. He sees a role for all types of storage, including long-duration and seasonal storage.”

Fortunately, the $2 trillion clean energy infrastructure proposals by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are aimed exactly at addressing these problems by making historic, massive job-creating investments in advanced electric grids, electricity storage and management, cost-effective renewable energy resources and host of other measures that will not only prevent gird problems now, but protectAmerica from the underlying scourge of relentless climate change which otherwise will swamp all measures to address it. That is called near-term and long-term leadership.

California Governor Newsom has also been visionary and diligent in recognizing the need for these long-term state and national investments in climate change protection, clean energy, and the deployment of advanced technologies that will bring a resilient clean electricity and a non-polluting electric vehicle transportation system. Indeed, Newsom, against the backdrop of the devastating wildfires, noted the need for greater long-term investments to protect against climate change and boost clean energy in remarks as part of the Democratic National Convention just this week.

But Newsom correctly and forcefully noted where the immediate problem lay: “Grid operators were caught flat footed, unable to avert disruptive blackouts and to adequately warn the public,” he wrote in a letter regulators in tough terms this week. Gov. Newsom has ordered an investigation into what went wrong, and state lawmakers have called for public hearings.

Not surprisingly, of course, none of these incontrovertible facts has stopped the liar-in-Chief Donald Trump and his “up-is-down” Orwellian campaign rhetoric that falsely blames clean energy for problems of grid management, and yet denies the very climate change that is the main problem in the first place. In fact, Trump has exacerbate the climate crisis by overturning every Obama-Biden climate protection possible.

But the people of California and the America now know better. The choice is obvious — make the long-term investments for a clean, reliable, less costly and secure energy system that will protect us now and in the future. That is precisely what Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are proposing, and can deliver to for America. Nationally, this must include all cost-effective clean energy options, including on-and off-shore wind, new transmission lines, carbon capture, and even advanced nuclear power in some places.

Just as important are the massive job creation benefits from these investments. Tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs because of the Covid economic-depression Trump’s lies and utter incompetence have caused. The Biden clean energy infrastructure plan will create many millions of good paying new jobs around the country, building American-made electric vehicles and charging stations, advanced grids and energy storage, carbon capture and storage networks, and national advanced high-speed internet to help make the whole system hum.

The Biden-Harris clean energy transition is the only way we can cope with the coming stresses of climate change in a way that will prevent far worse disasters in our near future. And, just as crucial, it will boost our economy, create jobs, and begin the American recovery right now. That’s a vision of American leadership and America’s future that we should all get behind.

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