California avoids blackouts after power grid alert

West

(NewsNation) — California’s energy operator warned customers Tuesday evening of possible rolling blackouts but never instituted them after issuing an emergency alert earlier in the day.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) had declared a Energy Emergency Alert level 3 shortly before 6 p.m. Pacific time. It means there is not enough energy to meet demand, and if the situation persists, the next step is rotating blackouts.

“Turn off or reduce nonessential power if health allows, now until 9pm,” an emergency phone alert read.

The emergency alert was canceled at 8 p.m. Pacific time, the ISO said on Twitter.

The emergency alert, and others similar to it calling on residents to conserve energy, have left state politicians in a unique position as they encourage electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions but cannot guarantee a power infrastructure ready for the demand.

“All of us have been trying to outrun Mother Nature, but it’s pretty clear Mother Nature has outrun us,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said addressing the state’s energy crisis in a news conference last week.

Californians were also asked to set their thermostats to 78 degrees.

“The reality is we’re living in an era of extremes: extreme heat, extreme drought — and with the flooding we’re experiencing around the globe,” he continued.

“The race” Newsom was alluding to refers to his state’s attempt to curb greenhouse emissions by banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035 — legislation California lawmakers were able to pass last week. 

As far as bring outrun, California Independent System Operator (ISO) declared a “Stage 2” power emergency late Monday due to a record-high heatwave that has caused the need for emergency generating capacity and conservation from homes and businesses.

The high temperatures were anticipated in California through the Labor Day weekend and expected through the week but, more importantly, the issue raises the question of whether California’s electric grid will be able to handle the stark rise in electric vehicles.

Ethan Bearman, a radio host and attorney in San Francisco, said those questions have been “blown up by the right” and he “rejects” the premise that California’s issue lies in being able to charge electric vehicles.

“We have an issue in California right now of climate change making our heat waves worse, hotter, longer,” Bearman said Wednesday on NewsNation’s “On Balance with Leland Vittert.” “We can’t keep up with the air conditioning in the first place.”

The state of California is already leading the way in the electric vehicles movement, having invested billions in the industry with already more than 1 million registered electric vehicles, accounting for 43% of the U.S. total.

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