‘Gaps’ in renewable energy led to blackouts for millions of Californians, Gov Newsom says

By Chris White

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the state’s transition away from fossil fuels and reliance on renewable energy was a contributing factor to the state’s rolling blackouts.

The elimination of fossil fuel products as a major form of energy production and the shift to solar power and other forms of green energy has led to what Newsom called “gaps” in the energy grid’s reliability, the Democratic governor said during a press conference Monday.

Newsom addressed the sudden loss of power many Californians experienced Saturday and Sunday during high temperatures.

“We are not backing off on that commitment,” Newsom said, referring to California’s push to transition away from oil and gas.

“In the process of the transition, in the process of shutting down, understandably, the desire and need to shut down polluting gas plants … comes the need to have more insurance, comes the need to recognize that there have been — by definition, demonstrably, in the last few days and what we expect over the next few days — gaps in terms of that reliability,” Newsom said.

The state’s energy system operator — California Independent System Operator (CAISO) — issued a Stage 3 emergency for the first time in 20 years, per a press statement CAISO posted Friday. Many citizens were required to conserve as much energy as possible while others were subject to rotating power outages due to heavy strain on the energy grid, CNN reported Monday.

“Collectively, energy regulators failed to anticipate this event and to take necessary actions to ensure reliable power to Californians,” Newsom wrote in a letter Monday to CAISO, CNN reported. “This cannot stand.”

CAISO attributed the blackouts to the unexpected loss of a 470 megawatt power plant, as well as a loss of nearly 1,000 megawatts from wind power. The nonprofit’s emergency order allowed utilities to use backup energy to relieve pressure on a grid that relies primarily on a mixture of wind and solar power, along with hydro power.

“Near certain we’ll be forced to ask the utilities to cut off power to millions today to balance supply and demand. Today and tomorrow and perhaps beyond,” Steve Berberich, president and CEO of CAISO, said in a statement Monday before noting that the nonprofit corporation has repeatedly warned of a reliability gap and that the state will have to increase energy production.

Newsom said Monday that the transition from fossil fuels was a “moral and ethical imperative as it relates to the kind of world we’re going to leave, the kind of state and nation we’re going to leave for our kids and grandkids.”

Sierra Club and other activists met informally with Newsom’s administration in 2019 to discuss dramatically slashing the state’s oil production, The Los Angeles Times reported in April of that year.

“I’m taking a very pragmatic look at it, in scoping this,” Newsom told The LA Times in a 2019 interview. “It’s also an inclusive scoping because it includes people in the industry, that have jobs; communities that are impacted from an environmental justice prism but also from an economic justice prism.”

California has 72,000 oil wells and the oil industry supports 368,000 jobs in the Golden State, according to the Western States Petroleum Association.

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6 thoughts on “‘Gaps’ in renewable energy led to blackouts for millions of Californians, Gov Newsom says

  1. In Vermont, the only thing that makes any sense is to stop “emulating” California, immediately scrap GWSA, and concentrate on:

    1) Energy conservation
    2) Energy efficiency
    3) Building net-zero-energy houses and other buildings by the thousands each year
    4) Using high-mpg vehicles, which would save Vermonters real money each year.

    The above 4 items would save money for Vermonters and make the state economy more competitive

    All of the rest is just expensively subsidized hogwash that would not make one iota of difference regarding climate change.

  2. Newsom: “California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the state’s transition away from fossil fuels is a contributing factor to the state’s rolling blackouts.

    The elimination of fossil fuel products as a major form of energy production and the shift to solar power and other forms of green energy has led to what Newsom called “gaps” in the energy grid’s reliability, the Democratic governor said during a press conference Monday.

    Newsom addressed the sudden loss of power many Californians experienced Saturday and Sunday during high temperatures.

    “We are not backing off on that commitment,” Newsom said, referring to California’s push to transition away from oil and gas.

    “In the process of the transition, in the process of shutting down, understandably, the desire and need to shut down polluting gas plants … comes the need to have more insurance, comes the need to recognize that there have been — by definition, demonstrably, in the last few days and what we expect over the next few days — gaps in terms of that reliability,” Newsom said.”

    Newsom’s decades politician-trained brain is trying to “real-time filter” and translate normal English thoughts into Liberal political-speak gibberish.

    Lets break down what he said:

    “In the process of the transition,” = In getting rid of fossil fueled power

    ”in the process of shutting down,” = and eliminating reliable baseload generation

    “understandably,” = and obvious to a 3rd grader

    ”the desire and need to shut down polluting gas plants” = we are serving our RE masters by eliminating low-cost electricity

    “comes the need to have more insurance” = we need also to cover our ass from public backlash

    “comes the need to recognize that there have been by definition, demonstrably” = obvious to even a Democrat voter

    “in the last few days and what we expect over the next few days” = last week and this week

    ”gaps in terms of that reliability” = because we shut down reliable electricity plants.

    Putting it together in plain English, this is what he said:

    “In getting rid of fossil fueled electricity and eliminating reliable baseload generation, and obvious to a 3rd grader, we are serving our RE masters by eliminating competing low-cost electricity (like shutting down Vermont Yankee)…… we also need to cover our ass from the public backlash that was obvious to even a Democrat voter, last week and this week, because we failed to provide reliable electricity.”

    More of what he said is translated as follows: “Yes, we fu,,d up big time, but it’s not going to better ever, so suck it up California, get used it. We own your ass as long as you live in this state, because we let in all these Hispanics who vote Democrat, plus “the transition from fossil fuels is a moral and ethical imperative, as it relates to the kind of world we’re going to leave, the kind of state, and nation we’re going to leave for our kids and grandkids.”

  3. Gee, I wonder if the Governor’s mansion lost power? Or Pelosi’s compound ? Or Maxine Waters estate?

  4. “Collectively, energy regulators failed to anticipate this event and to take necessary actions to ensure reliable power to Californians,” Newsom wrote in a letter Monday to CAISO, CNN reported. “This cannot stand.”

    That is a lie, because CAISO’s energy systems engineers did anticipate this years ago, and informed politicians and the Governor, but engineers were pushed aside.

    RE fanatics, with near-zero technical training, in California, were hell-bent to shut down 9,000 MW of gas turbine plants in the past 5 years to show the RE governor just how good team players they are.

    The sun sets in the afternoon, so solar goes to zero until the middle of the NEXT MORNING.
    There is no wind during a heat wave, which usually lasts several days, so wind is near zero for several days.
    Other outages, scheduled or unscheduled, may occur anytime during the year.
    THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!!!!

    California Rolling Blackouts Were Predicted
    https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-vagaries-of-solar-in-new-england

    California has had rolling blackouts 3 times in 4 days, and likely will have more. The main problem is California’s irrational shift from natural gas.

    About 9,000 MW of gas turbine plants, enough to power 6.8 million homes, have been shut down over the past 5 years, as the state increasingly turned to unreliable renewables. That leaves fewer options, after the sun sets and solar production decreases in the later afternoon, and the wind is not blowing as well.

    Normally, California imports sufficient electricity from neighboring states, when its in-state generation is insufficient. But the sprawling heat wave blanketing the US southwest is pushing all power plants to near 100% capacity throughout the region.

    California energy systems engineers have been warning this would happen for some years, so there should be no surprise it actually does happen. Let us hope New England RE dreamers will not emulate California’s foolishness.
    https://finance.yahoo.com/news/worst-heat-70-years-threatens-090000389.html

    CAISO brags about how they “maintain reliability while maximizing clean energy sources”

    California Unwisely Shutting Down 9,000 MW of Clean-Burning Gas Plants

    California utilities were unwisely ordered by RE bureaucrats to shut down these plants, but they should have kept them for standby, i.e., staffed, maintained, fueled, ready to serve at a moment’s notice, in case of unreliable wind and solar not performing.

    Batteries: Some RE bureaucrats say the rolling blackouts likely would not have happened, or would be less severe, if we had built out the planned battery systems.

    The turnkey capital cost of 9,000 MW of batteries with a 4-hour charge is 36000 MWh x 1000 x $500/kWh = $18 billion. The batteries would need to be recharged overnight to be available the next day. Such battery systems have a 15 to 20% loss on an HV ac to HV ac basis. They last about 15 years. Where would that recharging electricity, including losses, come from, if unreliable wind and solar were minimal?

    Here’s the bottom line: If you add 10,000 MW of solar supply to your grid, as shown in Figure 2, you must have available about 10,000 MW of traditional fossil supply to cover times when unreliable renewables simply don’t cut it.

    By blatantly ignoring that fact, allows RE dreamers to claim “renewables are ready for the market”.
    Unreliable renewables are absolutely not ready “for the market”, without huge ongoing subsidies and full fossil backup, and in a “pinch”, they are simply not up to the job.
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cost-shifting-is-the-name-of-the-game-regarding-wind-and-solar

    All of this is the total and complete fault of the Democrats, who have run California since forever, aided by huge influxes of mostly Hispanic immigrants, who likely vote Democrat.

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