- California faces a 1,800-megawatt energy shortage this summer, the office of Governor Newsom warned.
- A worst-case scenario would leave up to 4 million Californians without power this summer and beyond.
- California’s aggressive switch to renewables has been hampered by supply chain disruptions and heat.
Millions of Californians could experience blackouts this summer in the face of heatwaves, wildfires, and other extreme weather events, the office of Governor Gavin Newsom and three other state agencies warned.
The state is facing a significant shortfall in its capacity that could result in widespread losses of power, officials said during an online briefing on Friday, Reuters reported.
Officials stated the grid could be lacking anything from 1,700 megawatts to 5,000 megawatts this year. That would be likely to impact between 1 million and 4 million people in the state, the official said, but this would only occur following an extreme event, and was dependent on the success of conservation measures.
Governor Newson’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for further comment outside normal working hours.
Officials from the California Energy Commission, Public Utilities Commission, California Independent System Operator and Newsom said the state would have a shortfall of 1,800 MW by 2025.
California is highly vulnerable to adverse weather events, particularly wildfires, with Predictive Services projecting an above-normal significant fire potential in northern California this summer. According to climate project State at Risk, California is forecast to experience 150 days a year of high wildfire potential.
The state has put forward an ambitious plan to push away from fossil fuels with the goal to become carbon-free by 2045 and a requirement to build up to 6 GW of new renewable and storage solutions annually.
But Newsom and the officials told reporters recent efforts to reduce carbon reliance have been hindered by supply chain disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need to make sure that we have sufficient new resources in place and operational before we let some of these retirements go,” Mark Rothleder, chief operating officer at the California ISO grid operator, was reported to have said. “Otherwise we are putting ourselves potentially at risk of having insufficient capacity.”
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