Climate change is straining California's energy system, officials say

Scorching heat, raging wildfires and prolonged drought are putting California residents at increased risk of power outages, officials sa...


Scorching heat, raging wildfires and prolonged drought are putting California residents at increased risk of power outages, officials said Friday, as extreme weather conditions brought on by climate change put added pressure. on the state’s already taxed energy network.

Officials said in an online briefing that they were preparing for a scenario in 2022 that would see California fall short of energy demand by about 1,700 megawatts. The deficit is more likely to occur in the summer after sunset, depriving utility companies of solar power.

One megawatt is enough electrical capacity to power 1,000 average California homes, according to the California Energy Commission. Under poor conditions, the state could lack the amount of energy needed to power more than a million homes.

The situation could get worse if a heat wave causes residents to turn to air conditioners in droves for comfort, leading to an increase in energy demand.

“If all of these things were to happen there, there’s a real potential for outages, and we need to prepare for that,” said Mark Rothleder, senior vice president of the California Independent System Operator, which helps maintain the network. state electric.

Extreme weather and fire damage to the grid could lead to a shortfall of an additional 5,000 megawatts.

Officials also warned of higher electric bills for Californians as suppliers cover rising natural gas costs, rising transmission costs and mitigating wildfire risks.

Electricity bills for the average customer of Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s largest utility, will rise 9% by 2025, to $211, according to the presentation. This is on top of a 12% increase in the average bill from 2019 to this year.

California authorities are taking steps to mitigate the worst effects of climate change on the energy grid. In Friday’s briefing, which was provided by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office, officials said the state has stepped up energy conservation efforts, stepped up energy purchases and revised forecasts to reflect of climate change.

The state is also increasing its investment in renewable energy, which helps meet demand without contributing to conditions that strain California’s energy grid.

“For the past few summers, we’ve had to rely on emergency measures,” said Alice Reynolds, chairwoman of California’s Public Utilities Commission. “But at the same time, the network is getting cleaner and cleaner.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Climate change is straining California's energy system, officials say
Climate change is straining California's energy system, officials say
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