Self Inflicted Blackout

Electrical companies imposed rolling blackouts for the first time since 2001.

Yes, there is a huge heat wave. But inability to meet the surge in demand is due to a shift from natural gas.

Please consider Millions of Californians Seen Going Dark as Heat Tests Grid.

As many as 3 million people across California may take turns being plunged into darkness on Monday evening as the state’s grid operator works to keep the region’s power system from collapsing under the strain of one of the worst heat waves in generations.

The outages, which were expected to hit at 6 p.m. in California, would mark the third time in four days that the state’s utilities deliberately cut power to protect a grid that’s been pushed to the brink of failure as people blast their air conditioners and fans to keep cool. The state is facing an electricity shortfall on Monday of about 1.4 gigawatts, the California Independent System Operator said in a statement.

Since Friday, millions of Californians have been abruptly plunged into darkness with little notice, reminiscent of the mass blackouts that the state’s utilities carried out less than a year ago to keep their electrical lines from sparking fires during unusually strong windstorms.

Part of the problem is California’s rapid shift away from natural gas. About 9 gigawatts of gas generation, enough to power 6.8 million homes, have been retired over the past five years as the state turns increasingly to renewables, according to BloombergNEF. That leaves fewer options when the sun sets and solar production wanes.

Normally, California can import enough power from neighboring states when supplies are tight. But the sprawling heat wave blanketing the U.S. West is pushing power plants to the hilt across the region.

Part of the Problem or Most of It?

Heat wave aside, blame for the blackouts goes squarely on the inane push for more expensive renewable energy forms that cannot meet demand.

Even when California can buy from other states to meet excess demand, that is at additional cost.

Not only do renewables cost more, they are not as reliable. One cannot produce wind on demand.

California-Style Solution

California can raise taxes enough so that enough people flee to reduce electrical demand. 

As noted earlier California Seeks Wealth Tax to Soak the Rich, Even Those Leaving.

The obvious problem with the wealth tax is lack of sufficient billionaires. Not enough would leave to put any dent in demand for electricity.

California should raise taxes so high on everyone that 30% of the people leave. Unfortunately, the 30% who would leave likely pay at least 70% of the taxes.

But hey, it would reduce A/C demand by at least a third.

Mish