Green California Has the Nation’s Worst Power Grid

By Steve Goreham

Originally published in Washington Examiner.

More than a million Californians suffered power blackouts last Friday evening. When high temperatures caused customer demand to exceed the power available, California electrical utilities used rotating outages to force a reduction in demand. The California grid is the worst in the nation, with green energy policies pursued by the state likely furthering reduced grid reliability.  

At 6:30 pm on Friday, Pacific Gas and Electric, California’s biggest utility, began shutting off power in rolling outages to force a reduction in demand. Southern California Edison also denied power to homes, beginning just before 7 pm. Shutoffs impacted a rotating group of up to two million customers until 11 pm.

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) declared a Stage 3 Electrical Emergency, the first Stage 3 emergency since 2001. Spot power electricity prices soared to over $1,000 per megawatt-hour, more than 10 times the usual price.

In 2018, 19 percent of California’s electricity came from roof-top and utility-scale solar installations, the highest percentage in the nation. But by 6:30 pm each day, that solar output approaches zero. The state lacks enough reliable electricity generation capacity to run the air conditioners during hot summer evenings.

California has the least reliable electrical power system in the US. It isn’t even close. According to data by Eaton Corporation, the state leads the US in power outages every year, with more than double the outages of any other state over the last decade.

The causes of power outages can be divided into four major groups, which in order of importance are weather or downed trees, faulty equipment or human errors, unknowns, and vehicle accidents. California suffered the largest number of outages in each category in each year for 2014 through 2017.

For more than a decade, California has been closing coal and nuclear power plants. Recently, the state also began closing natural gas-fired plants as part of a continuing effort to fight global warming.

In 2006, Senate Bill 1368 established California’s Emissions Performance Standard, an effort to reduce state greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Since 2007, 11 in-state, coal-fired plants have been closed as a result, with an additional 3 converted to biomass fuel. California also slashed imports of electricity generated from coal plants. The Argus Cogen plant in Trona is the last remaining coal plant.

California nuclear plants, though not emitters of greenhouse gases, are also being phased out. The second and third units of the San Onofre nuclear generating plant near Los Angeles ceased operation in 2013. The Diablo Canyon plant, the last nuclear plant in California, is scheduled for closure in 2025.

Driven by state efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, gas-fired plants are also being shuttered. Natural gas generating capacity has fallen by more than 10 percent since 2013, with additional reductions planned.

Following the blackouts last Friday night, blackouts resumed at 6:30 pm on Saturday. Power officials blamed the loss of 1,000 megawatts of wind power when the wind subsided and the unexpected shutdown of a 470-megawatt power plant. It’s clear that the state does not have enough reliable baseload power as backup for intermittent wind and solar energy.

The problem of California’s poor electric reliability will likely get worse. On September 10, 2018, then Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 100, committing California to obtain 100 percent of its electricity from “clean energy sources” by 2045. Replacement of coal, nuclear, and natural gas generators with wind and solar will continue erode grid reliability.

As part of global warming efforts, officials want all citizens to switch their natural gas stoves and furnaces to electric models. More than 30 California cities have enacted bans on gas appliances, including the major cities of San Francisco and San Jose. Almost 10 percent of the state population now lives in an area covered by restrictions against gas appliances in new residential construction.

California also wants residents to transition from gasoline- and diesel-powered cars and trucks to plug-in electric models. So, when those blackouts occur in the future, not only will your lights and air conditioners fail, but you won’t be able to cook your food or drive your car either.

California sacrificed reliable electrical power on the altar of the fight against global warming. There is no evidence that state efforts will have the slightest effect on global temperatures, but they will be great for candle and flashlight sales.

Steve Goreham is a speaker on the environment, business, and public policy and author of the book Outside the Green Box: Rethinking Sustainable Development.

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Peter W
August 18, 2020 2:21 pm

I expect it will all be the fault of the power companies.

Reply to  Peter W
August 18, 2020 3:47 pm

Nah, Global Warming causes everything you know.

Reply to  shrnfr
August 18, 2020 6:37 pm

You’re both wrong. It’ll be Trump’s fault.

Reply to  Steve
August 19, 2020 4:10 am

Global Warming caused Trump.

August 18, 2020 2:23 pm

In the Soviet Union, the economy was good at producing a glut of many things. What the economy was bad at was producing things demanded by the market. While the people demanded food, the soviet central planners commanded the economy to make tanks, cinder blocks, and dog leashes.

Same problem in California. The California economy demands the scarce commodity of reliable electricity. What the California economy is actually producing: unreliable green energy. And the “central planners” in California continue to demonstrate a complete disregard for the market demands. So, naturally, they have to control demand somehow: by shutting off power in waves. In the end, the poor, the sick, and a sizable chuck of the middle class suffer.

Sorry to my friends in California but I am watching your state swallow itself whole as it spirals faster and faster away from free market economics and towards authoritarian central planning. Not even sure how this permitted in our supposedly “United” States.

Reply to  leowaj
August 18, 2020 4:28 pm

“What the economy was bad at was producing things demanded by the market.”

That’s because they didn’t have a market 🙂

“Not even sure how this permitted in our supposedly “United” States.”

You need a government to impose Pigouvian taxes on negative externalities. Get enough people to believe CO2 is pollution, et voila!

tsk tsk
Reply to  Observer
August 18, 2020 8:48 pm

You need a government to impose Pigouvian taxes on negative externalities.

While conveniently ignoring positive externalities because that’s different. Oh, and don’t forget the application of unproven models to set arbitrary costs for those externalities. That’s the best part.

Reply to  leowaj
August 18, 2020 8:43 pm

This is what happens when in a Democracy … one Political Party seizes total control of all branches of government and implants all of “their people” in the PUC, PG&E , CARB, and every other Bureaucratic Agency. Hence the State ceases to be a Democracy … it becomes a Fascist Dictatorship. Not surprisingly … that is exactly how Gavin Newsom is governing …

I really miss the State I grew up in through the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s … when there were still enough native Californians to preserve our Democracy. When the pendulum had swung too far, the voters would swing it back … we even so desperate to rid the State of totalitarian leftist, Gray Davis that we voted for an ex-body-builder to be Governor (what a waste of space he turned out to be). But the point is … there were still enough SANE people in this State to balance our wokeratti population who came here from God knows where. Sadly, this State has gone wayyyy past the tipping point and is effectively a Communist State, making its own Rules which ignore the US Constitution and the Federal Govt. The mono-Party can literally do anything it wants to the people … even invent a “wealth tax” … to steal the assets of Californians that have already been taxed … multiple times. Fascists.

Carl Friis-Hansen
August 18, 2020 2:28 pm

With those forecasts for California, I suppose the Hollywood stars have already equipped their mansions with diesel generators 2,000 gallon diesel tanks, plus static inverters as intermediate power until the diesel is up and running.
However, they will not tell you, it is not woke.

August 18, 2020 2:29 pm

And meanwhile, California imports electricity from out of state generated from fossil fuels but doesn’t count those emissions because it wasn’t generated from within the state. Same thing happening in Europe between countries. This accounting is as phony as the “net zero” and “zero tailpipe emissions” narratives. Newsom seems to have backed off from Brown’s goal of proudly spending taxpayer money to jet his quango around the world to propagandize California’s virtue signaling but much damage has already been done.

Reply to  markl
August 18, 2020 9:42 pm

However, we can’t import electricity from neighboring states when they are suffering from the same “Heat Storm” (whatever that is) as their residents are using their electricity to run their air conditioners, cook dinner with their electric stoves, and charge their electric cars.

When talking about “renewable energy” with friends who have bought into the CAGW / CC meme, I ask them where they will get their electricity when the sun is down and the wind isn’t blowing. They just glibly say “from the grid”. I believe that we have seen these last few days that “the grind” isn’t up to the task.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
August 19, 2020 12:33 am

I ask them where they will get their electricity when the sun is down and the wind isn’t blowing. They just glibly say “from the grid”.

I will check that one out on my woke friends too.
It seems to me that 7th grade physics is not taught the same way as 50 years ago.

Maybe the concept of electricity is too difficult:
There will only come water out of the garden hose as long as you press water into the garden hose.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
August 19, 2020 5:32 am

Relying on ratepayers in other states to fund California’s reserve power is foolish. Spot market prices and income will never cover the ongoing costs of that investment. Consequently, other states will eventually not be able to supply California’s reserve capacity. Unreliable electricity will be the result!

David Sigman
August 18, 2020 2:32 pm

Think they’ll change their views? Nope. The guv says we have to sober up about green energy but then all he has to offer is more solar and wind with a little conservation thrown in.

Reply to  David Sigman
August 18, 2020 2:56 pm

Newsome seems intent on de-industrializing California and encouraging the exodus. I guess its all part of his demand management plan.

James Francisco
Reply to  yarpos
August 19, 2020 6:59 am

Sure will help get rid of those pesky people that are in the way of the important Hollywood folks and other intellectuals on the highways.

Dennis G Sandberg
August 18, 2020 2:42 pm

Well yes, the grid is bad here in Cali, but what about “environmental justice” (Sierra term, whatever that is). It’ll get real judicious here when the Diablo Canyon nuke shuts down in 2025. 2256 Mw and nothing but solar being added as replacement (and a dribble of battery storage). Original plan was to replace it with 75% natural gas and 25% solar. But instead more natural gas is being shutdown (Surely, the next step will be making small home emergency generators illegal. No justice there, poor people can’t afford them.

Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
August 18, 2020 3:32 pm

Yes I definitely see the banning of home generators coming. The greens are never satisfied and will just push and push.

Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
August 18, 2020 8:02 pm

I can’t believe they intend to close Diablo Canyon given where they are and then even slightly more unbelievable is the ban on gas appliances. Why shot yourself in the foot when you can blow the whole leg right off.

Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2020 2:51 pm

At 2:42pm, CA ISO just sent out this tweet:
“#ISO declares Stage 2 #Emergency; rotating power outages imminent. #Conserve now to relieve stress on the #grid and keep #electricity flowing.

Stage 3 Emergency is likely coming in few more hours as demand will push them to less than 4 GW of reserve capacity as they near 5pm local time ~ 2hrs from now). Rotating blackouts occur at Stage 3.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2020 3:42 pm

It looks like they predict the shortfall earlier in the day or even the day before.
How come they can’t turn the gas up or hydro?
Or is my question stupid and they don’t actually have anymore?
Sorry, I’m just shocked that an advanced economy can actually be 10% short.

Reply to  Waza
August 18, 2020 4:26 pm

I suspect that what gas and hydro still exist are already maxed out.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  MarkW
August 18, 2020 5:06 pm

Yep, they’ve got every generator they have pressed into service.
Importing more electricity across state lines probably has maxed out the interstate connect lines, so no more there. And the sun is getting lower so the Solar PV output is now dropping fast with each passing minute, till it gets to zero just before sunset around 730pm, but effectively ends by 7pm for reasonable output.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2020 5:52 pm

Must be a lot of sag on those 500 Kv lines, in the heat of the day, and amps being maxed out. Now all Kali needs is a Condor to spread its wings and cause a fault on a line and watch the dominoes fall. It would almost be funny if this wasn’t so tragic. Everyone everywhere else on the planet better be taking notes about how much junk asynchronous intermittent and unreliable electricity they put into their grid. California is the proof in the pudding.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2020 7:17 pm

How large is a condor? Is that mutant condor?

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2020 7:38 pm

California condors are the largest flying land birds in North America with a wingspan over 10 feet. When they perch on a 3 phase line and spread their wings, they can cause a short as they can blow the cut-out fuse or mess with the auto re-closers, which when seeing an active fault, disconnect for 5-10 seconds and then reconnect. If the fault is no longer present, then power resumes. However, when the grid is maxed out, this temporary loss of power and then powered on has the grid yo-yoing with voltage and frequency nearing trip points. Or it does trip, blows a fuse form the short or then other circuits try to pick up the load, or that’s where loads get shed. Fried Condor. Birds cause a lot of power outages at the distribution level.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2020 8:52 pm

A professor of mine used to work for the main Alberta transmission utility
In the morning they would start seeing intermittent faults on the system
Send out chopper, find pile of feathers

Eagles landing on transmission line insulators to survey the land then take a whiz which runs down the insulator, ionizes, poof goes the eagle in a fault to ground, open and reclose the line

Part of the reason single pole tripping was invented

Eventually no eagles so problem will be solved

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2020 5:02 pm

The CAISO web site is down. CAISO operators are now running rolling blackouts now across California.

Latest Twitter update:
10 min ago:
#ISO projects #electricity shortage at 500 MW sometime between 5-6 pm. Working to give more accurate future hourly projections. #KeepConservingCA

23min ago
#ItsWorking #CA. Your conservation is making a difference; we can see the demand curve going down! No outages in the 4-5 pm hour. Projected resource deficit for 5-6 pm: 308 MW. #EveryMWCounts

30min ago
#KeepConservingCA Every MW counts right now.
Set A/C to 78 or higher, if health permits
Turn off unneeded lights
Don’t run major appliances
Close curtains and blinds
Use fans.

1hr ago:
#ISO seeing consumer conservation make a dent in load. Power outages are still likely for energy shortfalls. Forecast energy shortages and load shed: 461 MW from 4-5 pm; 308 MW from 5-6 pm; and 1,451 from 6-7 pm.

Wow, a 1.5 Gwatt shortage!!!
Congratulations California Democrats.

California is Now Officially Calizuela.


They have pressed every generator into service they can. They are forcing industries and major businesses to shut down early, and are now running rolling blackouts to load shed further. The problem is sun is getting low and their outsize solar PV output is waning big time across the state.

Walt D.
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2020 6:01 pm

Should be Cazuela. Keep it vegan!

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2020 8:47 pm

Well the Socialists were able to pulled it off Tuesday night. No rolling black-outs. Stage 2 is now cancelled by CA ISO.
Demand dropped faster than average under their constant calls for Californians to keep cutting back usage and turning off things. Works today. But it also means zero growth for California. And zero growth is going backwards fast in an indebted State like California.

August 18, 2020 2:53 pm

Lets see, you add:

Intermittent supply all the way down to zero
Variable supply even when its running
Over rely on diffuse low power sources that cant contribute to grid stability and syncronization
Do all this in the absence of a geniune realistic gridscale storage solution
Add layers of systems management complexity to manage the chaos
The start decommissioning power systems you have that provide necessary back up and grid synchronization.
Raise prices and tell the public you are “saving the planet”

Then act surprised when its ends up an expensive unreliable mess. Who benefits? Follow the money?

There is more than stupidity at play. If I were generous I might say its the outcome of short term thinking, incremental decision making in the absence of a real plan and sprinkled with rampant capitalism. My less generous self goes for greed and corruption.

This cycle repeats in countries wherever this is implemented. I wonder where the Enineering profession sits in this picture? they dont see to be doing their job, or do they just nod roll their eyes and at least still collect their pay checks?

Rick C PE
Reply to  yarpos
August 18, 2020 6:27 pm

“I wonder where the engineering profession sits in this picture?”

I wouldn’t presume to speak for the profession, but in my experience, engineers are problem solvers, not problem creators. Problem creation is the province of politicians and academic experts. I would guess that there are quite a few power engineers at PG&E and CAISO who consider the current situation to be politically mandated madness.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Rick C PE
August 18, 2020 9:00 pm

They do
They all know the western grid is going to collapse
NERC planning how to prevent it taking down rest of USA
Here in canada there is feverish work going on to add resiliency

This is what super high speed wide area networks and synchrophasors (sub cycle bit streams flowing to aggregators to try and provide up to date power flow maps like a weather map) are all about, to see the problem in real time, try to prevent collapse, but in worst case be able to reconstruct the collapse in the millisecond time domain

I don’t know a single old school transmission engineer who doesn’t think we are heading to collapse, once you feed them a few choice beverages

Pick your poison
Here in calgary I’d rather it happen in a 35c heat wave than in a -35 polar vortex (skiing weather)
Either way, lots of dead people

Or as Greens would say, “ a good start”

August 18, 2020 3:00 pm

Climate Change Inc. causes more (policy) blackouts don’t ya know.

Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2020 3:00 pm

Californians are enjoying the glorious Fruits of Socialism brought to them from the Democrat party leaders.

If you like your black-outs, you can keep your black-outs by continuing to vote for the (D)umb party.

Dennis G Sandberg
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 18, 2020 5:21 pm

Joel, …continuing to vote for the (D)umb party. It’s getting harder to not vote (d) here in California: No republican senator made it to the ballot (as projected in 2016 by CNN).
only the top two primary vote-getters make it onto the general election ballot, regardless of party. And on Tuesday, not one Republican was poised to make the cut. CNN projected that Attorney General Kamala Harris would get the most votes. Rep. Loretta Sanchez was solidly in second place. So two Democrats had by far the most votes of the 34 (yes, 34) candidates on the ballot

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
August 18, 2020 8:43 pm

I completely understand the jungle primary system California democrats in Sacramento created to block other party candidates.

August 18, 2020 3:08 pm

I live within 80km of 1st and 2nd largest co2 “polluting” power plants in the western hemisphere. So nice here. Can anyone guess where I am?

Reply to  Zoe Phin
August 18, 2020 3:24 pm

Dawgs or Tide?

Reply to  czechlist
August 19, 2020 8:32 am

Lol, had to look that up. I know diddly squat about sports.


John M. Ware
Reply to  czechlist
August 19, 2020 8:57 am

Longhorns or Bison.

Reply to  Zoe Phin
August 18, 2020 5:31 pm

Your in China, they appear to be more western than the west at the moment.
And China is west of the USA……

Dennis G Sandberg
August 18, 2020 3:15 pm

Here in Cali, in 2019, a 750 Mw gas-fired power plant is shutting down. The site will be used to manufacture batteries for storing solar and wind generated power. Isn’t progressive green regulatory management wonderful? /sarc

The 750-megawatt natural,gas-fired plant, known as the Inland Empire Energy Center, uses two of GE’s H-Class turbines…
…“We have made the decision to shut down operation of the Inland Empire Power Plant, which has been operating below capacity for several years, effective at the end of 2019,” GE told Reuters. The plant “is powered by a legacy gas turbine technology … and is uneconomical to support further.”

In a filing with the California Energy Commission on Thursday, GE said the plant is “not designed for the needs of the evolving California market, which requires fast-start capabilities to satisfy peak demand periods.”

California approved the Inland Energy Center, located in Riverside County, about 75 miles (120.7 km) east of Los Angeles, in 2003 and the plant opened in 2009. Industry experts estimated it cost nearly $1 billion….

GE is selling the California power plant site to a company that makes battery storage, which is increasingly used to make wind and solar power available when needed, replacing the need for some fossil fuel plants.

Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Additional reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by David Gregorio and Leslie Adler

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Robert of Texas
August 18, 2020 3:20 pm

When reviewing the “outages by state” chart, you really need to know both the population and the size of the area covered, otherwise the comparison is worthless. Population will indicate how many are likely affected by a large outage, and area indicates the size of the grid in question (or section of a grid in most cases).

Trend is actually a better measure as it should indicate how the problems follow the Green Energy movement. Texas once had a very stable grid, but I have been noticing more and more power voltage fluctuations over the past 5 or more years. When I run these to ground there is almost always an “event” at some wind farm.

The smart Californians (well, those that haven’t already left) need to start adding large natural gas capacity tanks to their homes and installing reliable gas-electric generators at their houses. They can add solar if they are rich or get enough government subsidies, but those will likely not cover the entire electrical need for most homes. When the government goes and gets stupid, you need to start taking care of things yourself.

This problem will turn into a different problem soon – too little tax revenue to keep lights on. If you are middle class and in California, I would be preparing to leave early because taxes are going to sky-rocket.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
August 18, 2020 9:57 pm

Converting our gas-powered stoves to electric is a non-starter. Our developer built the house with just enough electricity to get by, with a gas stove. To add an electric stove (which we investigated) means upgrading our electric service. The cost was estimated at ~$6,000. Plus the permit fees, plus the electric stove.

August 18, 2020 3:20 pm

If your life depends on a reliable supply of electricity you’d better have backup batteries and a diesel generator. That isn’t a problem for the affluent. Only the poor will suffer.

Where I live, old folks homes have come under intense scrutiny. I think the government has more or less declared air conditioning to be a necessity of life with regard to the old folks homes. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is also the case in California.

It occurs to me that if government policy is resulting in old folks being deprived of a necessity of life, some smart young lawyer should be able to make hay with a class action lawsuit. Lawfare is a two edged sword. Surely, if California cities think they should be able to sue over climate change, the government of the state should be liable for the very real damages inflicted by their criminally stupid energy policies.

Reply to  commieBob
August 18, 2020 4:44 pm

Speaking off which, when will the class action lawsuits be filed against Cuomo and State of New York for criminal negligence in the thousands of deaths in nursing homes. Sitting here on the other side off the world, seems only a matter of time.

August 18, 2020 3:31 pm

Macon Georgia?

August 18, 2020 3:32 pm

California has closed coal and nuclear power plants and begun closing natural gas-fired plants in an effort to fight itself.

Brian Johnston
August 18, 2020 3:46 pm

The whole problem is a massive con.
Wind turbines do not produce any useable 60Hz energy. They do not work
PV solar panels cannot power the grid
Then there is all the dirty energy – useless harmonics – which are generated by WT & PV and added to consumers power bills by smart meters.
The greenest and most socialist state has the biggest problem. Do ya get my drift.
The truth has to be exposed

Reply to  Brian Johnston
August 19, 2020 3:56 am

Here’s a chart showing wind turbines ‘not producing any energy’ in Germany

Paul Penrose
Reply to  griff
August 19, 2020 10:21 am

It is impossible to make a man understand something when his income is dependent on him not understanding it. Also called willful ignorance.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  griff
August 20, 2020 5:46 am

Here’s a chart showing wind turbines ‘not producing any energy’ varying by as much as 20 GW in 24 hours in Germany

Fixed it for you, griffy.

Reply to  griff
August 25, 2020 9:39 pm

Interesting. So both wind and solar do generate reliable output of electricity as opposed to coal and other power generators.

August 18, 2020 3:46 pm

At least the cutting down of trees for biomass and wind and solar will reduce the risk of outages from trees falling down.

August 18, 2020 3:48 pm

Well if it’s the least reliable it must be the cheapest!

It’s not ! What a surprise!

August 18, 2020 3:48 pm

This should be the impetus for California residents buying automatic power inverter-charger, battery cables & rechargeable DC batteries. Hooked up (or plugged in) so that when incoming AC electricity functions their deep cycle DC rechargeable battery(s) are getting charged for subsequent inversion of the stored DC back to AC for electrical applications when power goes off.

Obviously this is not practical for running refrigeration or aircnditioning, but quite useful for an inverter running modest sized personal niceties over the course of several hours – such as fan, computer, light, TV, oxygen concentrator, etc (when power comes back on the integrated unit shuts of DC inversion to AC & starts re-charging your batteries). This is an automatic inverter/charger appliance & yet it does not have to be connected (but can be) to automatically pass electricity into the entire residence through electrical connection into the central breaker.

These (inverter/charger/batterys) can be a set-up that when the power goes off the inverted (12V DC battery’s into 110V AC wires) AC just routes into the chosen bare essential applications needed – either using some alternate prewiring or an extension cord/strip connected to the inverter output. Small scale emergency rigs can fit in a room corner & near to where plan to be using it for most things – just don’t set battery directly on the bare floor (for reasons of optimal battery utility).

[As for refrigeration: not opening freezer/fridge door holds inside below spoilage temperature for many hours. Alternatively running a refrigeration unit with a 12V compressor off DC charged batteries is more efficient stored energy usage than inverting battery DC to run a refrigeration unit with an AC compressor – but the DC compressor costs a lot more than the ubiquitous AC compressor. ]

Reply to  gringojay
August 18, 2020 4:21 pm

Or, one could buy a natural gas powered backup generator and have the equivalent of a modern working home.

I’ve not been hit with a rolling blackout yet, but when it starts, I’m on the phone to the genie vendors.

Also, no one (meaning homeowners) buys power inverters for any serious electrical needs. They drive to the gas station and buy gasoline for the Honda generator they use with their RV when camping.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  RG
August 20, 2020 5:51 am

If you wait until rolling blackouts hit you to call the electrician or visit Home Depot, you won’t be getting a genny to get you through that, let alone a proper transfer switch to power your priority loads safely. Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

August 18, 2020 3:50 pm

With the high prices one would expect better service, but not the case in California. Even if they spend a fortune on batteries to store the solar and wind energy, don’t these batteries have to be replaced at some point ?

Right-Handed Shark
August 18, 2020 3:57 pm

Do any adults live in California?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
August 18, 2020 5:21 pm

Yes. Just not enough to offset the number of Democrat children voting for magical solutions and socialism.

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
August 18, 2020 5:43 pm

They must, because lots & lots of adult movies come out of California.
Or so I’m told by my “liberal” acquaintances.

August 18, 2020 4:18 pm

I wouldn’t be surprised if some nefarious forces were doing what Enron was doing in the early 2000’s, which was curtailing production of electricity at different locations, therefore causing an artificial shortage which raised prices through the roof. It wouldn’t take a lot of manipulation of such to have significant effect on grid stability when it is completely maxed out. They could be doing such to get a better spot market price, as the article was saying was peaking at a $1000 a megawatt-hour. Plenty of reason to muddy the waters so to speak and cause some short term price increase.

It could be as simple as some smaller players turning on and off their production at a small scale, that would cause just enough fluctuation in voltage and frequency to initiate PG&E to plan for an outage. Some of the smaller independent producers don’t show real time data to the local grid operators, so would go unnoticed, or even if they do report real time, how is the grid operator going to keep track of everything real time. Even a few larger commercial rooftop producers, if they were just to throw their main breakers off for a few minutes would require the grid to instantly pick up that load that they had been supplying (and now consuming), which is going to affect overall stability. If a few players were colluding, they could actually collapse the grid. Would look similar to clouds hovering over a commercial grid scale solar site for a few minutes, which also throws things for a loop. When the grid is maxed out, even a simple tree branch can start a cascade, such as what happened August 14, 2003 that knocked out multiple grids across many states and the province of Ontario resulting in a black out for tens of millions of people that lasted multiple hours. Who really knows what exactly is going on.

Dennis G Sandberg
August 18, 2020 4:36 pm

Even the most optimistic (lying through their green teeth) battery storage promoters shouldn’t be taken seriously when projecting Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) at less than $200/ ($200,000/, $200 Million/1000 Getting through the 3 PM – 9 PM peak requires $200mm X 6 hrs for every 1,000 mw of demand = $1.2 billion. (I have no idea what current real world prices are for storage, but my hunch is that it’s about $600/ = $7.2 billion for 6 hours of 1,000 mw demand….give it up).

CD in Wisconsin
August 18, 2020 4:46 pm

Newsome and other state officials admit that renewables are falling short…..

Quote from the article:

“One reason the state lacked power, officials admitted, was its over-reliance on “renewables” — i.e. wind and solar power.

There was not enough wind to keep turbines going, Newsom said, and cloud cover and nightfall restricted solar power.

“While we’ve had some peak gust winds,” he explained, “wind gust events across the state have been relatively mild.””

But then Newsome also refused to back away from renewables, and said the transition from fossil fuels would continue…


“Newsom said the state would try to address shortfalls through conservation, and through procuring new sources of energy.

Though the state would continue its “transition” to 100% renewable energy, Newsom said, “we cannot sacrifice reliability as we move forward in this transition.”

He promised “forecasting that is more sober” regarding solar energy, and a stronger focus on energy storage.”

If your headache is bad enough, hit yourself on the head with the hammer a few more times…

CD in Wisconsin
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
August 18, 2020 5:52 pm

If your headache isn’t bad enough….

Paul Penrose
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
August 19, 2020 10:25 am

“procuring new sources of energy”
And what exactly would that be? Unicorn farts and fairy dust perhaps? People like Newsom and his followers have no clue. Not a single one.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
August 20, 2020 11:20 am

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
August 19, 2020 12:00 pm

“One reason the state lacked power, officials admitted, was its over-reliance on “renewables” — i.e. wind and solar power.

There was not enough wind to keep turbines going, Newsom said, and cloud cover and nightfall restricted solar power.”

Yes, and this would apply no matter how many windmills and solar panels you had in place. If you had ten times as many as you have now, which is apparently the Democrats goal, they still wouldn’t get any electricity generated in these conditions.

The only reason California is even close to normal with the electricity supply is because they import electricity from surrounding States.

What is California going to do when they achieve 100 percent windmills and solar and the surrounding States do the same? Then they will have a regioal blackout when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun isn’t shining.

Idiocracy in California!

August 18, 2020 4:50 pm

To date, no one has managed to produce a solar cell or windmill that produces more energy over its lifetime than was used to manufacture, maintain and recycle over its lifetime.

Like a snake eating its tail, the more green energy increases the cost of energy, the more it will cost to manufacture green energy. Ultimately wealth will be turned into poverty and pollution will be reduced as industrial production is reduced, similar to what happened with wuflu.

Reply to  ferdberple
August 19, 2020 7:38 am

absolutely untrue.

A 2014 study which looked at this issue found that 2-megawatt wind turbines installed in Northwest USA paid for themselves in 5-6 months.

A 2010 analysis of fifty separate studies found that the average wind turbine, over the course of its operational life, generated 20 times more energy than it took to produce. This level was “favourable” in comparison to fossil fuels, nuclear and solar power.

I can cite numerous other studies showing wind turbines generate more energy in their lifetimes than is used to make, construct, operate and ultimately dismantle them

Reply to  griff
August 19, 2020 9:48 am

The point is Griff, is that the wind and solar infrastructure has to manufactured from fossil fuelled power sources, since we are usually processing raw ore and the same for the rare earth components that are required. Which usually takes metallurgical coal to process. Your estimate of a 6 month payback for New England wind farms is false however, since it doesn’t take into account many other variables such as new power lines and sub stations, including subsidies that distort this whole mess. Probably 10 years to a real payback if you count everything, even including the subsides if you have a good site and are lucky that nothing goes wrong. But the idea that wind and solar don’t create enough energy in their useful lifetime to replace themselves is also usually false, except for extremely poorly sited projects. That was taken out of context by some statements made to the effect that a poorly sited wind and solar site won’t create the energy to replace themselves. This myth is easily busted for better sited locations, although from a pure electricity production perspective, then electricity alone won’t manufacture these products from raw resources. It does take fossil fuels. It is important to be honest if we are to make statements that will stand the test of time. On both sides, and this is easily researched.

Reply to  griff
August 19, 2020 12:35 pm

Yes – you can cite numerous self-serving studies and always do, and you have no interest in learning from replies.

Michael Kelly
August 18, 2020 5:28 pm

Magically, only people serviced by privately run utilities are shut down. Sacramento being service by subsidized SMUD is exempt from blackouts. Hence, the politicians don’t really feel the pain they deal out to others.

Kinda “Blackouts for thee, but not for me.”

August 18, 2020 5:46 pm

I was driving down Hwy 67 between Midlothian and Venus TX recently and noticed some strange looking construction so I did a bit of research. Google is building there (server farm I assume). Guess what is close to the site. A 1.7 GW natural gas power plant. Green Google!!
I’ll wager they will purchase some type of offsets and claim they only use renewable energy.

August 18, 2020 5:46 pm

So, what exactly is the point of all those solar panels and wind generators?

August 18, 2020 5:56 pm

Out here in the Mojave Desert, not too far from Trona, I can say the wind is basically nonexistent, which is why it’s hot and demand from A/C is high. Those hot periods also tend to be really CALM.

The Argus cogen plant in Trona is not going anywhere, not ever. There is no demand to extend a big enough natural gas pipeline through the Trona valley to supply a natural gas boiler, and the heat is used to evaporate groundwater to produce trona and borax from brine. The train tracks are already there to take product out, socthey can bring coal in just as easily. And the Trona valley is in an ozone and PM attainment area, so there are no prohibitory air quality rules that could regulate it out of business.

Michael Walter Davis
August 18, 2020 5:59 pm

The chickens are coming home to roost.
Oops , the chicken came home to roast….
.. at the Ivanpah Solar Farm.
“Finger lick’n good!”

August 18, 2020 6:21 pm

GENERAC dealers in California must be ecstatic

August 18, 2020 6:21 pm

Heat wave. No air conditioning. Democrat ghetto neighborhoods already being encouraged to riot, loot, and burn.

All the jerry cans have been emptied – they’re only waiting for a match.

August 18, 2020 7:38 pm

When can I charge my Tesla?

Reply to  John
August 18, 2020 8:07 pm

Well you aren’t going to work in the morning are you 🙂

Abolition Man
August 18, 2020 8:19 pm

I suppose when I go visit my family still stuck in Commifornia I had better take my portable generator along! I used to use it for construction on primitive or undeveloped job sites; I guess the whole state falls in that category now on hot and/or windy days.
After living in an open/carry state for eight years now, it feels weird going to someplace where I have to leave all the guns at home. Especially someplace that seems to have such a high concentration of the criminally insane like Sacramento, SF or LA! They’re getting to the point of rivaling Washington, D.C.!
At least the obvious face plant that we are all witnessing may slow down or prevent other states and the federal government from following Calizuela off the cliff of unreliable wind and solar power!

August 18, 2020 8:55 pm

Ideology uber alles!

Pat from kerbob
August 18, 2020 9:34 pm

I think the solution is segregation
If you truly believe in green energy you live in community A
If you think it’s BS and like reliable power you live in a B community

Rolling blackouts only affect the A communities

They can be the A-holes, with no power

Easy to sectionalize and isolate at that level

Home by home not possible

John F. Hultquist
August 18, 2020 9:38 pm

… will be great for candle and flashlight sales.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Ed Zuiderwijk
August 18, 2020 11:24 pm

A power blackout in summer lasting 3 days will destroy the food supply. Two days later total anarchy, marauding gangs grabbing whatever is still edible. Three days later civil war. Then, when the non-wokes have won, the long slog of recovery will begin.

And those clowns think ‘climate change’ is a problem. They have no idea.

Carl Friis-Hansen
August 19, 2020 1:17 am

We need 100 times more wind turbines at the moment in Denmark:
comment image

Date Time CEST 2020-08-19 10:00
Base power stations 0.72 GW 16%
Off shore Wind 0.01 GW 0%
On shore Wind 0.05 GW 1%
Total Wind 0.06 GW 1%
Solar power 0.40 GW 9%
Import – Export 3.46 GW 75%
Consumption 4.63 GW 100%

This has been the picture for most of the last 14 days now.
Will Denmark go down the drain like California, when the Dutch, the Germans and the Norwegians can no longer keep up afloat?

August 19, 2020 4:40 am

I remember the good old days, when rolling blackouts only happened in emergencies. Now, in South Australia, they happen every year.

Reply to  Hivemind
August 19, 2020 6:26 am

But you never hear about it on the MSM, especially not the ABC or SBS unless they can spin it as a result of failure of thermal generators – it’s never the fault of wind or solar intermittency.

Peter Morris
August 19, 2020 7:58 am

See how high up North Carolina is on that list?

I’m sure Duke Energy has all kinds of excuses for why that’s so. But as a customer I can tell you it’s because they’re committed to “climate justice” and other such nonsense, not because they’re trying to construct a reliable grid. How do I know? They tell me on a regular basis via email, snail mailers, and other advertisements.

Won’t be long until we start catching California.

August 19, 2020 8:13 am

It would be interesting to see how much of California’s performance is due solely to PG & E.

James Francisco
August 19, 2020 8:49 am

I was in Oxnard CA for the 2001 rolling blackouts in CA. My area was not shut down but the areas that were experienced traffic gridlock fairly quickly because the traffic lights stopped working. Only a few crashes in a few intersections were required to bring all traffic to a halt. No need to worry about charging your battery powered car with gridlock also no gasoline can be pumped without electricity.

Eric Vieira
August 19, 2020 10:43 am

Even in the the film “The green mile”, there was a working electric chair…

There’s an old saying: each “state” has the government it deserves…

There’s an easy way out: don’t vote for the Democrats or greens any more.

John Lentini
August 19, 2020 1:59 pm

The Obama EPA and others have calculated the result of the reducing the entire US to zero carbon dioxide as hundreds of a degree reduction in temperature. This was revealed to the US congress by the Obama EPA. That’s because the US emits an insignificant amount of the global carbon dioxide. So all this is for nothing!

August 19, 2020 2:34 pm

CA is managing energy and electricity the same way Jerry Brown managed CA Freeways. Simply do not build any more new Freeways. Don’t widen the Freeways. Don’t maintain the Freeways. As a result … so Jerry thought … Californians would stop driving their cars and take a bus. Yes, that policy is ludicrously insane … and 100% wrong. But it was Jerry’s plan.

And now that asinine “plan” of Jerry’s has made it to energy and electricity. If CA takes away Energy and electricity … then people will conserve … and use less. Every day for the last week, PG&E has threatened to shut off my power! PG&E has sent a WARNING! email saying if I used “too much” energy … they’d have no choice but blackout. Then … when they didn’t shut off my electricity … they sent me a “congratulatory” email saying … “because you conserved electricity, we didn’t have to shut OFF your electricity!”. I have received EACH of these two emails every single day for a week.

I’d like to send PG&E, the PUC, and Gavin Newsom an email of my own … “build MORE gawddamnned POWER plants!” Californians deserve CHEAP, PLENTIFUL, energy … nothing less.

Nicholas McGinley
August 19, 2020 4:24 pm

A couple of papers, one new, one I had not seen previously:

Hydroxychloroquin ineffective for COVID-19
prophylaxis in lupus and rheumatoid arthritis

Observational study identifies drug that improves survival in sickest COVID-19 patients

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
August 19, 2020 4:28 pm
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
August 19, 2020 4:29 pm

Sorry, wrong thread.
My bad!

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