CAISO President: California Power Grid teetering close to the edge of collapse

CA System Operators Fighting with Politicians to Keep Grid From Collapse

I sent an email to a relative earlier today predicting that politicians in California would start leaning on system operators to reduce their safety margin or contingency power in order to avoid rolling blackouts.

I had no idea they were teetering this close to the edge already.

In response to rolling blackouts over the weekend, California ISO President Steve Berber warned that California must maintain its current electricity reserves or risk ‘collapse of the entire system of California and perhaps the entire West.’

Berber:

“You are trading the loss of 3000 megawatts for the collapse of the entire system of California and perhaps the entire West. […] When you’re at the very edge and you have a contingency and you have no operating reserves, you risk entire system collapse.”

TRANSCRIPT: ISO Board of Governors Meeting Monday, August 17, 2020

CAISO CEO Steve Berber:

“For those of you who think we can just use our reserves, you are wrong. You are trading the loss of 3000 megawatts for the collapse of the entire system of California and perhaps the entire West. […]

John, you mentioned that there are standards we follow that are NERC [North American Electric Reliability Corporation] standards. These standards are in place for a very good reason. They’re there to ensure there’s no system collapse. When you’re at the very edge and you have a contingency and you have no operating reserves, you risk entire system collapse. Is that not fair?”

CAISO Director, Real Time Operations John Phipps: “That’s correct, Steve. In fact that afternoon or evening there when we had the negative 1200 megawatt AC, if we would have deployed our reserves to recover our AC, but then had a large generator – Diablo Canyon – or some other similar unit trip which could not have recovered, we would have had AC frequency drop down dramatically and put the rest of the [Western] Interconnection in jeopardy.”

HT/ The Harry READ ME file.

155 thoughts on “CAISO President: California Power Grid teetering close to the edge of collapse

  1. Since California’s energy future is looking bleaker, I wanted to share my comments:

    In preparation for that next heat wave to hit California’s growing population, the California dysfunctional energy policies are planning on shuttering four power plants that have been providing continuous uninterruptable electricity to the grid.

    The four upcoming losses of continuous generating electricity are:
    1. PG&E’s Nuclear 2,160 megawatt Generating Plant at Diablo Canyon is to be shuttered in 2024.
    2. The 823 mw Natural Gas Power Plant at Scattergood in Playa Del Rey, to be shuttered in 2024.
    3. The 575 mw Natural Gas Power Plant at Haynes in Long Beach, to be shuttered in 2029.
    4. The 472 mw Natural Gas Power Plant at Wilmington, to be shuttered in 2029.

    For a state that imports more electricity than any other state in America, now at 32 percent, and already has the highest cost of electricity in the country for its 40 million residents, the dysfunctional energy policies have no plans to replace the capacity being lost from those four power plant closures. The “hope” is that the Northwest and Southwest will be able to generate enough power out of state for California to meet the electricity demands of California.

    • Replacing Diablo Canyon is going to be tough. They will need 3-4 Natural Gas Power Plants constructed and operating before decommission and that certainly won’t happen in 3 years given it’s California. Where are they going to site them? They need NG (no pipelines allowed!) and you need water to cool and exhaust to contend with. Plus the NIMBYs will be out in full force.

      I think they are in a pickle and no way out anytime soon. Plus I can’t see any outside help unless it comes from hydro out of OR or WA. There won’t be anything from AZ or NV given their population growth and a lot of their population is becoming former California residents that believe they should sleep in their own bed since they made it. California is a huge train wreck happening in slow motion.

      • The same NIMBY’s are becoming powerful in all the surrounding states. Not much longer until they no longer have any spare electrons to sell.

        • Say it isn’t so! I live in AZ and left looney Washington partly because of the crazy that is the left. They have ruined a beautiful state and primarily destroyed all nice cities west of the cascades with a few exceptions. They are slowly doing the same here in AZ but I’m holding out hope that we can still recover from the debacle that was Kyrsten Sinema. Hopefully, Mark Kelly doesn’t win this November. It will be a bad omen for us here in AZ if that happens.

      • R Babcock,
        I think the points you’ve made will force the Sacramento Libtards to swallow hard on their anti-nuclear stance. They’ll have to start working now to get re-licensing of Diablo Canyon for another 10-20-30 years before the decommissioning planning goes too much further along there. (the regular refueling of a single nuclear reactor like those at Diablo Canyon is at least an 18 month planning and execution cycle during normal planning, probably 24 months with Diablo now).

        They’ll correctly justify that Keep Diablo decision by the fact those 2 already-built nuclear reactors are zero-emissions electricity sources and currently unreplaceable. But even with Diablo remaining ultimately by 2030 they’ll still be faced with the reality that wind and solar cannot replace reliable, continuously available base-loads sources like nuclear and natural gas plants.

        • I would like to think that this situation would bring about some logical change, but I think you underestimate the capacity of people to sacrifice for an ideal. I believe that, for many in California, the prospect of occasional blackouts for a few hours is a reasonable price to pay for the increased use of renewables. People sacrifice a lot more for their religion than that. Like medieval self-flagellants, this suffering is only further proof, to them, of how their suffering will bring about their salvation.

          • The problem is businesses and industry will flee unreliable power to Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Oregon*.
            Last person out won’t have to worry about turning out the lights, they’ll already be long OFF.

            * That Apple and Facebook built their big data centers outside of California (in Oregon) should be a clue to Sacramento Marxist-Democrats that their state sucks at even Big Tech now.

          • The problem is, the decision-makers DON’T have to suffer, so it doesn’t matter. They don’t care that the peons go without.

      • A simple solution, cut the electricity to the communities:
        Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Montecito, Hillsborough, Portola, Palo Alto etc.
        or any neighborhood where the avg house is over 3000 sq ft.
        For the most part, some of the promoters of the green new deal.

        • Love it, Bob! Bet Harry can’t rely on Duchy of Cornwall leccy. HeHe.
          Seriously, anything over 5,000 sq ft is going to use more than four times the needs of people in condos etc. Best to cut their power for the greater good – which is what I thought their brand of communism was all about.

          • Lobbing in from Australia where we have the same crazy energy “policies” in place.
            Harry P, either you forgot the /sarc tag or you need to re-read Animal Farm. Clearly some “liberals/communists” are more equal than others.

        • The rich in California can easily afford reliable private power. The poor will do without because they can’t leave. The middle class will leave.

    • Then the responsible thing for the grid intermediate and long term is to cut California off. Period.

      • I’m good with that. Cal’s political lunacy and demand for interstate generation to make up their shortfalls and willingness to pay big $’s on the spot power market only drives up my cost of electricity here in Arizona.
        Cut them off, or at least cap how much they can take. Fortunately the physics of the existing transmission lines puts real cap on how much they can import.

      • I tend to wonder what the reserve power is for if it is never used, in which case, it’s like it never existed. Just wondering how they miss this. Or are they trying to seriously compromise the system by decreasing available power by that much, up front.

        • The reserve power is for unexpected outages, as was mentioned in the transcript. If you commit your reserves and have a generator go off line, that’s game over. Can you say “black restart”? Sure you can.

    • Teetering on the brink of disaster is exactly what socialists want, hoping people will demand that their government do something.

      The government will then seize more power over the private sector, after blaming them, or Trump, and get more powet, which is what they wanted in the first place.

      It doesn’t matter if the catastrophy is real, such as Covid or blackouts, or fake, such as the coming climate crisis … coming for the past 50 years.

      Socialists never let a crisis go to waste.

    • California Rolling Blackouts Were Predicted
      https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-vagaries-of-solar-in-new-england

      California has had rolling blackouts 3 times in 4 days, and likely will have more. The main problem is California’s irrational shift from natural gas.

      About 9,000 MW of gas turbine plants, enough to power 6.8 million homes, have been shut down over the past 5 years, as the state increasingly turned to unreliable renewables. That leaves fewer options, after the sun sets and solar production decreases in the later afternoon, and the wind is not blowing as well.

      Normally, California imports sufficient electricity from neighboring states, when its in-state generation is insufficient. But the sprawling heat wave blanketing the US southwest is pushing all power plants to near 100% capacity throughout the region.

      California energy systems engineers have been warning this would happen for some years, so there should be no surprise it actually does happen. Let us hope New England RE dreamers will not emulate California’s foolishness.
      https://finance.yahoo.com/news/worst-heat-70-years-threatens-090000389.html

      CAISO brags about how they “maintain reliability while maximizing clean energy sources”

      California Unwisely Shutting Down 9,000 MW of Clean-Burning Gas Plants

      California utilities were unwisely ordered by RE bureaucrats to shut down these plants, but they should have kept them for standby, i.e., staffed, maintained, fueled, ready to serve at a moment’s notice, in case of unreliable wind and solar not performing.

      Batteries: Some RE bureaucrats say the rolling blackouts likely would not have happened, or would be less severe, if we had built out the planned battery systems.

      The turnkey capital cost of 9,000 MW of batteries with a 4-hour charge is 36000 MWh x 1000 x $500/kWh = $18 billion. The batteries would need to be recharged overnight to be available the next day. Such battery systems have a 15 to 20% loss on an HV ac to HV ac basis. They last about 15 years. Where would that electricity, including losses, come from, if unreliable wind and solar were minimal?

      Here’s the bottom line: If you add 10,000 MW of solar supply to your grid, as shown in Figure 2, you must have available about 10,000 MW of traditional fossil supply to cover times when unreliable renewables simply don’t cut it.

      By blatantly ignoring that fact, allows RE dreamers to claim “renewables are ready for the market”.
      Unreliable renewables are absolutely not ready “for the market”, without huge ongoing subsidies and full fossil backup, and in a “pinch”, they are simply not up to the job.
      http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-name-of-the-game-regarding-wind-and-solar

      All of this is the total and complete fault of the Democrats, who have run California since forever, aided by huge influxes of mostly Hispanic immigrants, who likely vote Democrat.

    • Oregon is scheduled to shutdown the Boardman plant, 550mw, at the end of this year which means we’ll have that much less electricity available to ship to California. I’m worried with what Oregon is doing with their 25 in 2025 (25% renewable in in 2025) because it’s screwing Oregonians. Only way for use to maintain viability is to cut the feeders to California.

  2. At least the hundreds of thousands of people that are fleeing this dysfunctional state will reduce the load on the system. It will be good to see rolling blackouts caused by green lunacy. Perhaps people will start to wake up when they find their food spoiling and air conditioning not working, leaving them frying or freezing among the smell of their rotting food in the fridge.

    • There are hundreds of thousand of people in California with income or assets in excess of $15 million? If I were in California and had such income or assets being targeted for confiscatory taxes – I wouldn’t be in California.

      • The number of people bailing on both CA and NY has been increasing dramatically in recent years.
        I see no reason why anyone should assume that this trend won’t continue.

          • TomB – not sure taxes after you leave the state will work. CA was planning in the ’80s that IRA income would be taxed regardless of where you moved to, but some states (my beloved NV) passed a law stating that immigrant residents from other states would not have to pay taxes to their former state. Several states started passing similar laws, and CA gave up on the effort. I would think this new law would run up against those same laws. Politicians have very short term memories, and may have forgotten the results of that earlier attempt. If it were possible, NYC would already have implemented such a law.

          • You can be taxed for the portion of the year that you were in the state. If you have no presence in the state, they can’t tax you.

          • If you have no presence in the state, they can’t tax you.
            That’s not stopping them from trying.

            If this bill passes, I wonder if there might be an abrupt bump in millionaires leaving CA to get out before it kicks in?

        • Net migration from California to other states is about 100,000-200,000 per year. However, the state population is meanwhile continuing to grow. Hmmm. Who might that be who more than offset net out-migration?

      • currently there are two tax proposals in the cal legislature. One is a millionaire tax, and the other is a wealth tax. I suspect that most wealthy folks in California are planning their move if they haven’t done so already. Can’t imagine how all those services for illegals will be paid for when Illegals become the tax base.

  3. The power supply in California is the result of people believing the myth that wind and solar can fully replace 24/7/365 power from nuclear, natural gas and other reliable systems. You can visit the CAISO.com website to see what’s happening right now. It is updated every 5 minutes.

    Today the demand will almost certainly exceed the supply forcing Ca Iso to implement rolling blackouts. In spite of this situation, cities throughout the state are mandating that new housing be 100% electrical, in spite of an ample supply of natural gas.

    My question for today is whether on November 3rd the citizens of California will once again vote for the same politicians who put us in this position.

    • The latest myth is batteries, they are there for stability, they cannot deal with an absence of power, but that is the myth promulgated by the Green Blob, and the MSM sycophants.

      • These are like hour-long black-outs, rolled through areas in shared misery, over the 4 hours of high demand from 6pm to 10pm. The biggest battery banks could bridge the system for a several minutes to a dozen minutes max. Hours long deficits cannot be replaced by minutes of battery reserve. The system still then crashes at any economically conceivable level of batteries.

    • Apparently, Newsom is starting some kind of investigation into why the blackouts occur. His politics can’t handle the truth, so he’ll probably turn it around and blame Trump.

    • The supply is “ample” for homes, but a CCGT plant’s voracious appetite for un-interrupted, high flow rates of natural gas is another matter. That takes new pipelines and and lots of planning and approvals.

      • It was in New York, last year as I recall. A natural gas utility refused to accept any new customers. Their existing pipeline didn’t have the capacity, and they couldn’t get a permit for a new line. Governor C. said “You will make the connections and supply the gas.”

        The utility brought in the extra gas needed by truck. (Take a second – swallow, then put your coffee cup down)

        Now here’s a thought – do I want to be following a west-bound truck on I-40 that has a full load of electricity?

  4. I dunno… People seem to take the brown outs and black outs in stride. It’s probably going to have to take power rationing like in Africa where there is no power unless they have their own diesel generators for most of the day (rely on sunshine!) before the sheeple begin to go ‘hang on a minute…how come the rest of America gets power all the time??”

  5. I don’t know that these failures will cause a political change in California. The politicians have made demands of the utilities that are, from a physics and engineering perspective, impossible to meet. When the system starts failing, as it is doing now, the politicians demand the operators just fix it. While some people will leave the state, the majority of voters will simply agree with the politicians that the utilities are not doing their job, they are putting profits over people, they only care about making money, etc. .

    The next step will be to replace the head of the public utilities with political appointees to make sure the utilities do the right thing. The appointee need not have any experience in running a utility, they must simply say they will fix things. When the situation gets worse, the next line of executives is replaced by appointees.

    This is the pattern in all failed states in which the leadership faces no accountability.

    • You forgot to mention thearge raises the next political appointees are given, because they have to clean up the mess left by the previous appointees. And of course the new appointees will make good use of these raises, to donate lavishly to the reelection campaigns of those that appointed them.

      What might appear to be a problem, the unstable power grid, is in fact in the land of politics a god given opportunity.

    • Very well said. I think your prognosis is exactly right. The lack of accountability is a result of the growing majority of the electorate believing the dream of “clean energy,” disconnected from the practical realities of power generation. It’s collective delusion. It may take a lot of hard lessons to open some minds, but will it be enough? Never underestimate the human capacity for self-delusion and misdirected blame to maintain the delusion.

      • The stupidity of the people is what it comes down to.
        This is what happens when life is too easy.

      • It needs to be renamed “Atlas Scooted” to appropriately describe what’s happening in California.
        Atlas is leaving a, green, scoot mark down the length of the state.

        Cheers

        MaxP

  6. High Treason August 18, 2020 at 6:17 am

    It will be good to see rolling blackouts caused by green lunacy.

    We phoned our son in San Jose a few days ago, and they said the power was off. Dunno, black outs brown outs and closing of power plants to battle “Climate Change” “The Climate Crisis” one would hope that most people would see the connection, and vote accordingly.

  7. Thirty years ago I had a young employee located in CA admonish me for being a gun collector and shooter. He explained that he was brought up to believe that “guns are bad”. This was 30 years ago! The vehemence in his statement was spooky. The left has been working on the population of CA for a long time and have instilled the attitudes they want in the more simple of their people, quite well.

  8. Calofornia is just plain dysfunctional. You’d think a grown up could realize that solar and wind are not 24/7 power generators, which is what is required to meet 24/7 demand. But then, these yahoos also believe BLM’s idiotic claim that the igest threat o Blacks comes from White policemen, while tens of thousands are shot to death each and every year by fellow Blacks.

  9. Rolling blackouts may not convince enough sheeple, as the press will explain in a condemning tone: “We have failed to install enough solar, wind and batteries in form of electric vehicles working as buffers.”
    Okay, sounds like crab – it is crab, but most unicorn believers fall for similar crab.
    I worked for a short while in Santa Clara in 1999-2000. At that time my colleagues were talking about California not having enough generating capacity, because they were not building any new plants and running the old ones down as their life cycle were coming to an end.
    I remember thinking to myself: How on Earth can a state, so dependent on electricity for its progress, be so ignorant.

    • “I remember thinking to myself: How on Earth can a state, so dependent on electricity for its progress, be so ignorant.”

      An easy, short explanation: “Democrats”

      Simple ignorance can be fixed with education. But Cal’s Democrat’s are beyond simple ignorance, they are breathtakingly stupid.
      The vast stupidity of US Democrats, and California’s style of Democrats, is epic and may soon be fatal blow to their economy.
      Dems claim to “follow science” when the simple physics and the reality of 2+2=4 says they’ll run out of electricity as old plants close and new ones do not replace, and they build on more intermittent solar PV. The Democrats are the anti-science crowd.
      The simple physics informs that solar panels cannot make an electricity at night and only minimal output on cloudy days. To ignore that, is to ignore reality, which Democrats do with aplomb.

      • But Cal’s Democrat’s are beyond simple ignorance, they are breathtakingly stupid.

        That might have something to do with CA Democrat being in thrall to the Hollywood (multi-millionaire) luvvies who shower them with the stardust they crave. The CA populace can take a running jump where that’s concerned.

    • That reminds me of: If you think the cops are pigs, just call a hippie the next time you have a problem. Or something like that.

  10. This statement in the CAISO Flex Alert issued yesterday just about says it all;

    “…and the sun is setting, removing thousands of megawatts of solar power from the system.”

    • I remember a seminar from 1976 where the chief engineer of PG&E cautioned the solar power advocates about the demand curve peaking about the time the sun sets. His comment was that there would need to be a lot of energy storage needed to cover that difference.

      One thing that would have helped would have been switching all customers with solar panels to time of day net metering. This would have encouraged them to install batteries instead of using the utility as a battery.

      • Here in Tucson, my TEP electricity provider made a big push two years ago for customers to opt into one of several net metering plans. On the surface it looked attractive, but they had a hidden in the fine print “net metering fixed fee” in the pricing. When I punched the numbers through on their plans for my usage and then very real adjustments I’d have to make to push my high demand usage to low price periods, net metering came out no real difference to constant price metering.

        The hidden in the fine-print net metering fee totally eliminated for me any actual savings.
        With net metering, I’d be jumping through usage hoops for TEP’s benefit at no $ savings for me to keep TEP from having to source more reliable power after the sun went down. As I’d have to be seasonally adjusting the timer on my pool pump to meet seasonally changing net metering daily time periods. The constant worry factor on it all of being constantly aware of and worrying about my time of day usage, like when I run the clothes dryer and temperature settings on the home HVAC thermostats should come with a savings to me. But TEP priced their net metering plans with fees so they wouldn’t lose a penny and place more burden on me to fix their peak supply problems. “Fuck them and the horse they road in on” was my attitude to TEP net metering schemes.

        • My 1,200 sq ft home uses about 30 kW-hr per day in the summertime. A Tesla Powerwall is rated at 13.5 kW-hr with 100% discharge and 90% round trip efficiency. Peak power flow is 7 kW or 5 kW continuous. Scaling to 2,000 sq ft, that’s 50 kW-hr or 4 Powerwalls. The cost of a Powerwall is $6,500 not including installation. Mind you, this covers you for one day. Tropical Storm Isaias left us without power for 2-1/2 days. Me, I don’t have the spare cash to pick up 6 Powerwalls. And a generator at $1,500 (not large enough for the AC) and gasoline for 2.5 days would be a lot cheaper.

  11. Hey not to worry, Gavin has enough staff PR writers to assign and divert blame as needed politically and without technical merits. Better place the climate change “excuse engine” on standby.

  12. When polits decide to put in a wind farm, etc., does the CAISO get involved? It would seem if they are the ones having to manage the thing, their word on new developments would be important.

    I see a huge reckoning in the offing this November for Democrats, The Gang Green and Champagne soshulists. The power situation in California, the dysfunctional, Dem-controlled Cities and states, Corona deaths from stupidity and willfulness in New York and several other Dem states and cities, a treasonous House of Reps over four years, the Dem choice for president …. The next Dem President may not have been born yet.

    • RE: “The next Dem President may not have been born yet.” GP

      You need to meet more Democrats. They outnumber the sane and are being produced constantly by Public Education of the youth, Legal immigration of Browns & Blacks, Illegal immigration of Browns & Blacks, and the Democrat Party’s RESURECTION of the Dead to vote by their well crafted vote fraud schemes. The cake has been baked already, the four or eight years of Trump are the last years of a Republican president in the USA.

      The real question is how much longer will there be a USA?

      Dan Kurt

      • Dan, there are enough sane Democrats who can’t fail to have been disgusted by the ever worsening state of mind and performance of those in power in Dem states and cities. Joe Biden is a perfect choice – a mental patient for president. Saturday Night Live has been upstaged. Today is the smartest day of the rest of his life. I’ve ‘preached’ to lefty friends and family that the party they’ve voted for is not the one they think it is. Only its name is unchanged.

        My thesis is this. A significant percentage of Dem voters held their noses to vote for crooked Hillary because Trump seemed too much of a loose cannon – people were terrified. She was a saintly statesmam compared to the mad dogs of today, though. The polls will be even more wrong this time because Dem apostates won’t admit they are voting for Trump in droves! Trump turned out to be a good guy to be running things like the economy, foreign trade, taking on straightening the world out… Trump will win by a landslide and if Republicans who were ankle-deep in the swamp turn around for shore and accept the successful version Trump created, they will be in power for a couple of generations.

    • Gary,
      From your mouth to God’s ears! It will take at least a generation to fix our problems in Washington, Sacramento, Albany and the other sites of the festering Progressive disease!

    • But,but, but…the Democrats have such great, altruistic solutions. Green energy for a pristine world. No police, we’ll just treat each other with respect and kindness. We’ll pay for everyone’s college education, health care, housing, food, and a guaranteed living wage, with open borders to share everything with the world.

      I suspect they will never give up on their solutions; they’ll just demand that the average person (which doesn’t include them) become a more ‘perfect‘ person, more like a worker bee. They, of course, need more electricity and a large carbon footprint to lead us properly.

  13. The self-induced and unmitigated tragedy created by the eco-fascists is… NONE of this is NECESSARY!

  14. I know it’s too cliche-ish for words, but it seems California has sown the wind and will reap the storm. It is a state out of control and lacking the adults necessary to fix it.

  15. Perhaps once a major state like California suffers grid collapse good and hard the proponents of Renewable (Unreliable) Energy will be forced to recant.

    • I’ve been reading similar comments now for the last 12 years…

      and there have been no collapses due to renewable electricity.

      (I point out once more the SA outage was due to collapsed power lines due to extreme weather and would have occurred even with 100% fossil fuel)

      • Can you please stop lying you are a terrible troll. The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has launched legal proceedings against four wind farm operators (AGL, Neoen SA, Pacific Hydro and Tilt Renewables) over South Australia’s 2016 blackout. The case is currently in the court system.

        The AER has already flagged that in the unlikely event they lose the case they will impose new regulations on the renewables sector because what happened can not happen again.

      • Tell that fantasy story to Gray Davis, the most perfect politician ever to grace California as governor. He was recalled out of office specifically after the Enron power debacle and replaced with Arnold. Gavin Newsom is well aware of that which is why he wasted no time blaming PG&E and other power companies when the true facts show that the grid will collapse unless roving blackouts continue during heatwaves as ordered by CAISO.

        Welcome to the reality of third world power systems all caused by democrats who must save the earth.

      • It’s amazing how, no matter what happens, it’s never renewable power that’s at fault.
        I guess it’s similar to how everything bad is Trump’s fault, even the stuff Obama did.

        Any way, the number of near misses grows every year, but griff keeps on whistling.

      • griff August 18, 2020 at 9:06 am

        … there have been no collapses due to renewable electricity.

        See my post above.

      • Give it time, Grif.

        Today the forecast for demand to be close to supply.

        It is not quite 16:00 in Cali and that means that the solar generation is on the right side of the parabola and heading down. My roof top system is producing 15 – 16 KWh this time of year and it is just below 13 KWh right now. Since my dwelling is on the Central Coast, my system should be model most of the roof top solar systems in California. Most of the solar power for the day has already been produced. The rest of the week promises to be warmer than today. I doubt that we will get through this week without rolling blackouts.

      • “there have been no collapses due to renewable electricity.”

        Didn’t the UK teeter on the brink a few months ago?

        • But it didn’t go over the brink.
          In griff’s world, that proves that the grid never will go over the brink.

        • Here’s chapter and verse from the UK regulator on the “incident” to which I assume you are referring:

          https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/publications-and-updates/investigation-9-august-2019-power-outage

          “The investigation found that the combined loss of two large generators, as well as the smaller loss of generation at a local level, together triggered the subsequent disconnection, loss of power and disruption to more than one million consumers. Two large power stations, Hornsea One Ltd (co-owned by Orsted) and Little Barford (operated by RWE) did not remain connected after a lightning strike. They have agreed to make a voluntary payment of £4.5 million each into Ofgem’s redress fund.

          Local network operators disconnected and reconnected consumers in response to the loss of power as expected. However, UK Power Networks began reconnecting customers without being asked to by the Electricity System Operator (ESO), which could have potentially jeopardised recovery of the system. This has no impact on 9 August and UK Power Networks has recognised this technical breach, taken swift action to prevent any future reoccurrence, and agreed to pay £1.5 million into Ofgem’s voluntary redress fund. All parties have fully cooperated with the regulator throughout its investigation.”

      • “I’ve been reading similar comments now for the last 12 years…

        and there have been no collapses due to renewable electricity.”

        It looks like California is going to be the Crash-Test Dummy.for the United States. They already have some of the highest electriicity prices and now they are experiencing rolling blackouts.

        Those California Democrat politicians really know what they are doing.

        You get what you vote for.

        California is an example of the dumbing down of Americans via a politicized education system and the lying national, leftwing media.

  16. In BC we can’t use any more natural gas or coal for new power…..only green. True insanity. We still sell huge amounts of coal to China!

    • The Chinese want the Canadian economy to collapse so they can roll in and buy up all the resources for pennies on the dollar.

  17. And California’s vicious Governor is now laying blame for blackouts on the system operators. His ignorance of the needs of public utilities is only surpassed by his savage politics – very reminiscent of the Soviet Union back in Stalin’s day.

  18. Back to a previous comment I made

    I want a world designed by Douglas Adams such that the moment a person becomes too stupid to live, they simply wink out of existence, no need for Thanos and his magical Infinity stone glove

    Just poof

  19. Commifornia is, perhaps, THE most indoctrinated state in the US! I finished my education there in the 1970s so I wasn’t quite as brainwashed as the current batch of recent grads are; yet it still took me almost a decade of study and clean (no drugs) living before I was able to leave the Progressive religious dogma behind!

    The state government has been run primarily for the benefit of the teacher’s and prison guard’s unions for the last forty years; talk about your school-to-prison pipelines, it’s built into the CA education system! The teacher’s miseducated their students so that a substantial portion have little ability to survive except by criminal activity thus providing the prison guards with job security and an ever growing number of positions!

    The Green Blob agenda has been pushed relentlessly over that same period while at the same time millions of illegals were brought into the state to undermine the middle class and poor. When I left CA in 2012 wages in my chosen profession of construction had not grown in about twenty years in relation to inflation! This was part of the impetus for tens of thousands of contractors and carpenters leaving the state after the housing bubble burst. They could no longer get work because there were plenty of illegals available at half the cost although the quality of the work was often commensurate with the pay.

    So while the CA citizens were being pushed to new heights of environmental concern, their government was overwhelming the infrastructure with millions of non-citizens, many of whom were able to receive social services like welfare and housing assistance at the expense of the already beleaguered citizenry. Water projects that would have increased holding capacity to counteract problems with recurring droughts were abandoned, power plants were shuttered without replacements being built or, even worse, expensive Green projects were undertaken. The politicians promised the sky to the electorate, many of whom couldn’t distinguish fact from fiction any more! This is not going to end well; there is no easy fix for a one-party socialist state when they run out of other people’s money and now they are in danger of running out of other people’s POWER as well!

  20. Just think about having to black start a state the size of California. Hope they have left some diesel fired generation to start the candle burning again. Otherwise they are screwed if its cloudy and still.

  21. Renewable drivers, disposable technology. The Green Blight, a source of unreliable energy, an environmental hazard outsourced to China et al. Save the birds, the bats, the creatures displaced.

    • Remember to use black-out curtains if you use a generator in a power blackout: your neighbours and the local thugs will be jealous or take offence – or just take your genny – if they see your lights on while they are suffering.

  22. I think it’s about time the feds step in and separate the corrupt state government from control of the system. It’s clear the desk jockeys in Sacramento have no idea how the system works, why it works, or what it needs to work in the future.

    Gavin Newsome simply thinks he can smile at the camera and cause physics to bend to his will. He and those like him are the cause of the problem.

  23. Closing Diablo Canyon in 2024 is, most unfortunately, a done deal. As is closing the second Indian Point reactor unit in New York State in 2021.

    California’s voters and New York State’s voters have the politicians and the energy policies they want. They will not retreat from their support for those politicians and for those energy policies regardless of the consequences.

    Closing Diablo Canyon in California and Indian Point in New York State is sheer lunacy. But keeping either of those two facilities open would be to admit that solar and wind backed by batteries cannot get the job done. Neither the politicians, nor the voters who keep those politicians in office year after year, will ever make such an admission.

    The upshot is that for the long term, Californians and New Yorkers must learn to live using roughly one-third less electricity than they consume today. Maybe even half as much electricity. That is their choice. If this is what they want to do, then let them do it.

    Except for one thing. We can’t let the Californians collapse the Western Interconnection. If California’s voters want to go their own way, then let the Californians go their own way by encouraging the creation of their own independent wind and solar power grid.

    If this means covering much of California’s arid landscape with huge solar farms and with massive grid-scale battery facilities, so be it. It is their state, let them run it the way they see fit.

    • Sadly what you say is correct. So around 2025, with the Sun approaching the solar cycle max and with the Earth’s magnetic field diminishing, turning off Diablo Canyon could get very interesting. As much as we are all exposed, a major heat wave and any further disruption to California’s grid would be catastrophic. Additionally there will be 5 more years of infrastructure degradation. California has sucked all the money out of PG&E as they can and will continue to do so. Someone needs to put up a countdown clock.

      We just need to make sure there are enough switches in the interconnection to isolate their problems.

    • “Closing Diablo Canyon in California and Indian Point in New York State is sheer lunacy.”

      Yes, it is. That’s the Democrat Party. They are delusional and don’t live in the real world.

  24. The next rolling blackout should include all of Sacramento (and especially any government facilities) and any emergency backups should be disabled.
    Let it last about a week and see if any pols have come to their senses re:green energy during that time.

  25. I think what is needed to nip all of this in the bud is a federal law that frees up the utilities from having to buy or produce electricity from weather dependent energy sources (i.e. wind and solar) that destabilize the grid and make it unreliable. The obvious reason for the legislation is to put an end to what is happening in California and ensure it does not spread. Call it the Grid Reliability and Stability Act (GRASA).

    If this is to happen, the Republicans have to be in complete control in Washington and wake up to what is happening in California. Unfortunately, I am not going to hold my breath waiting for this to happen — I am not optimistic. The failure of politicians at all levels of govt to look long and hard at the physics, engineering and economics of wind and solar and pay serious attention to the problems created by the implementation of them does not bode will for the future in my opinion.

    The obvious opposition to GRASA by the Green Movement and Democrats would obviously be a problem for its passage in Washington. Plenty of lawsuits. If things get bad enough in California however, I am left wondering if the Federal Govt could step in a take over California’s grid to rescue it from the incompetence of the Dems in Sacramento. It could cancel the plant shutdowns (including the nuclear plant) and build additional ones with fed govt funds in the state. And mandate forest management to reduce the scope and intensity of forest fires.

    But I am probably just daydreaming here. The reality is looking far less hopeful.

  26. What is likely to come out of this Road to Damascus moment for Cal’s Libtard politicians wanting to avoid an angry electorate will be a resurrection of Diablo Canyon re-licensing. This Keep Diablo is the only face-saving path for the Sacramento Libtards because they can justify it based on nuclear’s zero emissions.

    Without Diablo Canyon’s very stable 2 GigaWatts supply after 2024, California will face these Black-outs with regularity, a situation anyone with any analytical-engineering skills has been forecasting for a long time.

    What other choices do the Sacramento Libtards have?
    Without Diablo Canyon re-licensing, I see very little options.
    – As others here on these comments have already pointed out, the planning for a 4 unit (4 x 500MegaWatt) 2 GigaWatt CCGT plant, the interconnects to the grid, and the pipelines to bring it gas from Utah and Colorado-New Mexico just cannot be done in the 4 years before cataclysm strikes the CAISO grid once Diablo Canyon goes off-line permanently.
    – Interconnects to Oregon and Washington State are probably already at capacity, plus they have their own in-state growth to supply and keep reserves. Even if they built a new interconnect line, and more hydro-generation squeezed out to help California, but for how long, months, years, decades while Cal pursue a suicidal Green energy policy? More hydro-generation over a sustained period, even with the reservoirs already built, comes at a huge cost and risk to the reservoirs’ storage holdings in case of a prolonged drought.
    – Into this power void, undoubtedly capitalism can come to Cal’s CAISO rescue with more fast spin-up Gas Turbines being built in regulatory friendly Arizona, but the gas pipelines to support that would need to be started soon from the NewMexico gas fields.
    – Arizona’s baseload supply is now already taxed with the huge Navajo Coal generation plant shutdown this past February. So there is huge financial incentives for operators to build out gas turbines here in my state of Arizona. Selling natural gas-made power on the spot market to a desperate California at $3/Kw-hr can pay back the investments and make for handsome rewards rather quickly.

    But (big But) any plan to meet US power needs for the next 30 years also depends on not having a brain-dead Green Energy-stupid President Biden or President Harris from re-starting CPP and imposing a new CPP-like lunacy on the States, which would be devastating to the entire country.

    • Probably just about enough time to build an LNG regasification port and shoreside gas generation. Might spoil the view on the Ventura Highway though.

    • I think it more likely that as the Southwest’s and California’s grid reliability issues begin to accelerate, gas-fired turbine peaker plants which can be served by rail transported LNG will be installed wherever it is convenient and relatively safe to locate them.

      The installation of these LNG-powered peaker plants will be justified as a temporary measure necessary for achieving the greater long term goal of reaching 100% carbon free power.

      For those who are worried about spent nuclear fuel being transported by rail to the interim SNF storage sites now being proposed for Texas and New Mexico, just wait until thousands of rail car tankers loaded with LNG are being transported hither and yon about the United States.

  27. Back to nature, no more sewage treatment, no more steel mill gas, oil, coal, electric arc or electric induction, open-hearth, or oxygen furnaces.

    On the bright side the air will be cleaner and you will die of old age at 30.

    • No, that was life expectancy at birth for most of human history because of infectious diseases and lousy public health systems. If you made it to adulthood and didn’t die from childbirth or in war, you could easily make it to 70-80 or more.

      • So is it quality or quantity or both?
        With cheap reliable energy quantity dictates quality of life.
        Looks like we need both.

  28. So, how’s Tom Steyer doing? As the author and main financier behind wind and solar subsidies, he ducked out when the failing infrastructure caused forest fires, so what is his plan? Is he even resident in the state? Do his homes all have independent power generation? If so, is it powered by diesel, gasoline, natural gas, or propane? Or does he have enough blood lithium batteries and acreage to get by? My money is on his money keeping his home(s) cool and well lit, and all his meals delivered hot and on-tme.

    • With his kind of money, all his California estates/properties certainly have stand-by automated-start generators to cover for rolling black-outs. And if those fail, his mega-yacht can pick him up from a San Fran pier and keep him sailing in comfortable luxury just offshore, with his personal helicopter and Yacht landing pad at-the-ready to take him ashore when needed.

      So from Lil’ Stinky Steyer’s wealthy Liberal-retard perspective, it’s the peasants who deserve to suffer the fate of black-outs to help push more money to his Green portfolio and green hedge fund investments.

  29. First, separate California’s grid from the other grids to protect them. Texas has it’s own grid which would help contain problems in a major power blackout.

    Second, start a federal tax on any intermittent energy connected to a major grid. This is to pay for upgrades to the grid to help protect it. Obviously this would also mean NO SUBSIDIES.

    Third, declare California incapable of governing itself (incompetent) and place a board of trustees in charge until they get California back to some sensible control. No idea if this is even possible, but it was a fun idea to type in.

  30. Well, I do not dismiss this from a possible future:

    Assume the Dems take control of the National government (House, Senate, White House, and a majority on the Supreme Court). When CA shutters Diablo Canyon and face imminent numerous and prolonged blackouts, Congress passes a law dictating that surrounding states MUST provide power to CA, and be included in any planned blackouts and brownouts. The feds will provide compensatory payments to the states, essentially bribing those state governments to go along at the expense of their citizens. Perhaps the will use the guise of national security or defense to ensure CA is the only state NOT to suffer blackouts.

    CA is too important to the Democratic Party for them to have it fail, and possibly become Republican. If they can save it, especially at the expense of red states, they will, quickly and without reservation. Prepare to be majorly outraged if the Dems win in November.

    • They might be able to try, but power lines are vulnerable to intentional interventions on the part of patriots.

  31. CD in Wisconsin August 18, 2020 at 9:46 am

    … what is needed to nip all of this in the bud is a federal law that frees up the utilities from having to buy or produce electricity from weather dependent energy sources (i.e. wind and solar) that destabilize the grid and make it unreliable.

    It’s just great if you have a back yard wind mill or solar panel, the utility has to pay you for what you generate, and you get to use their infrastructure and their customer base. What a sweet deal!

    Maybe that’s not the way it really works, but it looks that way from what I’ve read.

  32. What exactly is meant by “collapse of the entire system”?

    If that means the entire grid failing, wouldn’t that big of a collapse threaten the entire national grid? I seem to recall reading about “15 substations” being sufficient to do that.

    • A lot depends on how quickly the operators are able to isolate the failing parts.

      Hopefully the operators around California are doing drills on how to disconnect California in a hurry. If needed.

      • That’s definitely concerning, then. I don’t think a collapse of the national grid would be quickly or easily recovered from. With the mess everything else is today, I don’t see our country surviving it. Even WITHOUT the current mess I doubt we could.

        • IIRC, there is the East Grid, West Grid, and Texas. They are independent from each other but interconnected. You can be sure that if the West looks like it’s going down, Texas and East will hit the OFF button right quick.

          • Wouldn’t surprise me to find out that mains to CA have been equipped with sensors to detect any kind of abnormality and are set to sever the connection at the first sign of something amiss.

  33. I have nothing against people trying to develop renewable energy, but when it is mandated by government bad outcomes happen. The free market is powerful and has lead to huge amounts of prosperity. To mess around with the free market prosperity machine is dangerous. One only needs to look at Soviet Communism to see the disastrous effects of government trying to run industry. Lining up for bread is no different than what we have in California right now, except instead of bread the people have to wait for electricity, they have to wait to the government elites turn back on the power and are at the mercy of shortages caused by politicians.

  34. Probably just about enough time to build an LNG regasification port and shoreside gas generation. Might spoil the view on the Ventura Highway though.

  35. So where does the CO2 from the 9000 MW of power generated by California’s neighbors go? Does California build a wall to contain it?

    • I have been wondering about that, since much of California’s imported power is generated by burning something.

  36. It’s about to get interesting a 4:06pm PST! CAISO is reporting total renewables at 9200MW with solar at 6400MW and dropping fast! With 52,000MW available and demand at 47,000MW and the peak still to come and the loss of ALL solar soon the fecal matter could hit the oscillating device in a spectacular way. Stay tuned.

    • “the fecal matter could hit the oscillating device in a spectacular way. ”

      The nicely alliterative phrase I’ve come up with is “when the poop hits the punkah.”

      (A punkah is a rope-operated flap (a primitive fan) over an Indian throne.)

  37. “CAISO CEO Steve Berber”

    The problem is, the dude’s white. If he were “of color”, all the unicorns would cooperate to provide beautiful, rainbow-colored power.

  38. Welcome to the Communist destruction of the Western world the Marxist socialist Demokkkrat labor parties are hell bent on destroying the Western world. So suck it up people until you get rid of all of them you’re going to have to live with this.

  39. To paraphrase Churchill,

    “The Californians can be relied upon to do the right thing…
    …after they have exhausted every other alternative”.

    I have sat and watched Western energy policy being flushed down the toilet for 20 years, whilst carpet baggers got rich, and the people were lied to.

    In the UK we had a minor power cut, due to too much renewable and unconventional generation being on the grid. California needs to have a total blackout lasting days, before people will start to question the total folly that is ‘renewable energy’. The same goes for Germany.

    We have to sit through the exhaustion of all the other alternatives I am afraid. Because it is only by making the right predictions, and them coming true, that people will know to trust our judgement.

    In the long term – late 21st/early 22nd century, if civilisation is to continue, it has to be nuclear powered.But it will take a generation before that truth is generally accepted.

    • “In the UK we had a minor power cut, due to too much renewable and unconventional generation being on the grid.”

      When was that Leo?

      • A year ago, the Hornsea offshore windfarm disconnected in the fifteen minute window ending at 5pm, and a gas fired plant at Little Barford tripped out at 4:58 pm as it could not alone maintain the frequency on the same transmission line to London. There was apparently a lightning strike at that time which should have had no effect on transmission reliability. “Coincidentally”, the grid company had tweeted earlier that day they had set a new record for the proportion of unreliables providing electricity with the reliable generators being turned off to make room.

      • Added to the Hornsea wind farm powercut a year ago was that in another remarkable “coincidence”, the very next day the operators were told to reduce the amount of destabilising power it was applying to the grid, and paid £100,000 in compensation for not being paid the normal fees to destabilise the grid.

    • Leo, you say, California needs to have a total blackout lasting days, before people will start to question the total folly that is ‘renewable energy’. The same goes for Germany.

      We both know, as a WUWT blogger recently posted, “There are no strengths in renewables. Every increase in renewable energy inflicted on a grid weakens the nation, drives up electricity costs, impoverishes the poor and threatens the elimination of industry.”

      I retired from the midwest to California 10 years ago. But most Cali’s were educated in Cali and most of them would conclude that the blackouts are Trump’s fault because he won’t shut down fossil fuels and stop global warming. We need a Plan “B” and there is only one. Because of time constraints with Cali politics the decision to shutdown Diablo Canyon can not stand. it’s not complicated

  40. Jim, Sorry I didn’t get back to you, but yes, if you look at Ofgem’s technical document of the incident it does give timings of the incident, with the lighning strike immediately followed by the Hornsea failure immediately followed by the Little Barford (and other) cascading shutdowns. The fact that lighning strikes on transmission lines are a normal occurence handled by the equipment in place for many years does suggest that something has happened to reduce the reliability of such systems. The fact that Hornsea failed first is indicative of the possibility that it was that failure rather than the lightning strike that caused the subsequent failures. The Ofgem report does not reach a conclusion – it basically just says this shouldn’t happen and both generators are paying compensation. However it does state that in it’s view of the Little Barford fault “the steam turbine’s anomalous speed readings and the resulting trip were due to the transmission network fault following the lightning strike”. It is therefore reasonable to infer that the Hornsea failure which followed the lightning strike, but preceded the Little Barford fault may have introduced an uncontrolled element to the transmission network fault.

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