2015: Risks to the Grid

wildfire

This summer California will be at risk for rolling blackouts and power shortages. While California has been highly successful in curbing energy demand during peak (high-usage) hours in the past, this summer’s conditions may demand more serious attention than those in previous years. Reasons include:

  • Historic drought:
    • State officials predict reduced generation from hydro-stations
    • Necessary water supply curtailments may cause up to 1,150 MW of thermal units to shut down
    • Wildfires may force power lines out of service
  • Approaching heat:
    • Hot, often humid days which will increase A/C demand
    • Extreme weather
    • Potential for heat storms lasting several days

Consequences

This summer’s energy challenges could put many Californians at risk. When electricity availability declines, so does access to A/C and other amenities that are critical to some. During the July 2006 heat wave, heat-related deaths topped 130. Elderly individuals or those with medical ailments are particularly vulnerable to high-heat days, especially during blackouts when air conditioning becomes unavailable.

Solutions

It is especially important that we work together to conserve energy this summer. In the past, California's residents and businesses have done their part to reduce their power consumption during times of especially high peak demand. This summer, businesses and individuals will need to continue to lead in energy conservation, shutting off major appliances and reducing A/C use during peak hours. Join Californians around the state to stay alert and power down.