A battery pack will help avoid blackouts in California in the summer

Read Time:4 Minute, 45 Second

title=

A solar farm with more than 100,000 panels surrounds the decommissioned Rancho Seco nuclear power plant near Sacramento in 2022. On Thursday, May 25, 2023, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a detailed strategy to strengthen renewable energy in the state while preventing blackouts during high-demand periods.

xmascarenas@sacbee.com

The threat of power shutoffs on hot California days is likely to be kept at bay thanks in large part to thousands of new megawatts of battery storage being added to the electricity grid this year, state energy data showed.

[–>

But long-term grid capacity challenges remain.

[–>

An increase in battery storage has allowed the state to collect excess power during times of low demand and discharge it on demand. Winter rains also boosted hydropower at dams this year, prompting officials to anticipate a power surplus this summer.

[–>

The projection comes as a relief to Californians who experienced threats of blackouts during last summer’s heat wave, which highlighted grid vulnerabilities as the state shifts to using more renewable power and prioritizes widespread electrification of cars, trucks and buildings.

[–>

It’s that interplay between short-term reliability and long-run clean energy goals that Gov. Gavin Newsom sought to address Thursday during a news conference at the Contra Costa County headquarters of Moxion Power Co., a manufacturer of clean, mobile energy storage technology.

[–>

Newsom’s announcement in Richmond puts a detailed strategy behind goals set by the state in 2018 to reach a clean energy future — drastically increasing grid capacity and cutting out fossil fuels.

[–>

“When we lay out markers, we achieve them,” he said Thursday.

[–>

“We need to build. We need to get things done. This is not an ideological exercise,” Newsom said. “We’re running against time.”

[–>

Solar panels on the parking lot of El Capitan High School in Merced in 2022. On Thursday, May 25, 2023, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a detailed strategy to strengthen renewable energy in the state while preventing blackouts during periods of high demand.
Solar panels on the parking lot of El Capitan High School in Merced in 2022. On Thursday, May 25, 2023, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a detailed strategy to strengthen renewable energy in the state while preventing blackouts during periods of high demand. Andrei Kun akuhn@mercedsun-star.com

Battery storage capacity has increased rapidly in the last few years, according to new data from the state Energy Commission, growing to more than 5,000 megawatts this year from 250 megawatts in 2019.

[–>

“We’re moving away from aspiration to application and implementation,” Newsom said.

[–>

The number of zero-carbon energy sources is also growing, data showed, though at a more modest pace. Officials said growth had been stymied by drought-related declines in hydroelectric power generation.

[–>

More than 37% of the state’s electricity in 2021 came from solar and wind, up 2.7% percent from 2020.

[–>

A California regulation called the Renewable Portfolio Standard requires 60% of all retail electricity sales to be from renewable energy by 2030, and for zero-carbon sources to supply 100% of sales by 2045. A law passed last year accelerated those timelines, setting a target of 90% clean electricity sales by 2030.

[–>

Siva Gunda, who serves on the commission, noted that California met its 2020 clean energy target in 2017 and highlighted the rapid growth in storage capacity, which grew nearly 20 times since 2019.

[–>

“Today’s fleet of storage resources can capture enough electricity to power up to 5 million California homes,” he said. “By mid-century, capacity is projected to increase another tenfold to 52,000 megawatts.”

[–>

Storage expands, but California’s electricity grid remains vulnerable

[–>

Officials stressed that the grid remains vulnerable to periods of extremely high demand and availability of imports when neighboring states are also stressed. The grid has ample solar power when the sun is shining or wind is blowing, but has historically had to lean on gas-fired power plants during evening periods of high demand.

[–>

At the same time, California is gearing up to significantly expand grid capacity to handle accelerated demand from electric vehicles and buildings with the decline of fossil fuel-powered cars and appliances. Grid capacity overall must triple by 2045, according to estimates from the Independent System Operator, which controls California’s grid.

[–>

That expansion would pose a challenge for the state, experts said. New energy production facilities such as solar and wind projects take years to acquire needed permits and studies, as do long-distance power lines needed to connect cities.

[–>

“This is the largest requirement for new clean energy resources in the state’s history,” said Alice Reynolds, president of the California Public Utilities Commission. “This will result in unprecedented investments in energy storage and help us move that abundant solar energy from the middle of the day to evening hours when we need it most.”

[–>

All that new development will cost money likely to fall on ratepayers already burdened with some of the nation’s highest energy costs. Spikes in fuel prices this winter and the cost of air conditioning last summer took a toll on low-income households.

[–>

Reynolds pointed to a program for customers of SMUD, PG&E and Southern California Edison to save money by reducing their power use during peak demand hours from 4-9 p.m. Pre-cooling with air conditioning early in the day, she said, is a more efficient way to cool your home this summer.

Ari Plahta is a political reporter for The Sacramento Bee with a focus on the environment and climate change. She joined the newsroom in 2022 after reporting on drought for the Los Angeles Times, schools for the Los Angeles Daily News, and politics as a freelancer in Israel and Palestine. Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, she is a graduate of the UC Santa Barbara School of Public Policy and the UC Berkeley School of Public Policy.

Source by [author_name]

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %
Previous post A man quit his job to move into an eco-friendly treehouse for $25 a month
Next post California is unlikely to run out of electricity this summer