Roper: California heat wave blackouts highlight flawed ‘green’ policies

By Rob Roper

California is suffering a major heat wave with temperatures coming in at significantly over 100 degrees. Compounding the danger is the unfortunate reality that California’s electricity capacity — arguably the most “green” in the nation — can’t handle the demand needed to run the air conditioning. California Gov. Gavin Newsom admitted that California’s extreme shift to renewable energy sources is at the root of the current crisis.

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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

As reported by Deadline, “Newsom pointed to California’s shift to renewable resources as part of the reason for the supply shortage. Shutting down polluting gas power plants has created gaps in the state’s energy supply, he said.” And, as the Wall Street Journal reported, “The grid strain was particularly acute in recent days as cloud cover reduced solar production in Southern California.”

Though deaths caused by the current heat wave are not yet being reported, several stories cite statistics from a similar heat wave in 2006 that officially caused the deaths of between 130 and 450 people, depending upon which source you believe. And, rolling blackouts eliminating people’s air conditioning did not occur in 2006.

California’s plight highlights the major flaw in the “green” energy policy: reducing carbon emissions doesn’t stop the climate from changing, but it does hamper — in cases like this severely — humans’ ability to adapt. A cautionary tale for Vermonters about to consider passing The Global Warming Solutions Act with its greenhouse gas reduction mandates, which are modeled largely on California’s.

If you really believe that the climate is going to change rapidly in ways that threaten human existence, California shows that achieving an abundance of cheap, reliable energy is a far more important goal right now than reducing emissions.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

4 thoughts on “Roper: California heat wave blackouts highlight flawed ‘green’ policies

  1. California Blackouts: It’s Not Just the Heat, It’s Also the Anti-Nuclear Power Stupidity

    RE dreamers oppose a huge source of reliable, climate-friendly electricity that could have prevented the rolling blackouts in the Golden State.

    Rolling electric power blackouts afflicted as many as 2 million California residents last week as a heat wave gripped the Golden State. (It’s apparently eased up for now.)

    At the center of the problem is that power demand peaks as overheated people turn up their air conditioning in the late afternoon just as solar power goes to sleep to mid morning the NEXT day.

    In addition, output from California’s wind farms was erratic. Currently, about 33 percent of California’s electricity comes from renewable sources as mandated by state law, ON AN ANNUAL BASIS. SOME DAYS THERE IS NEAR ZERO WIND AND SOLAR

    Until this summer, California utilities and grid operators were able to purchase extra electricity from other states, but the current heat wave stretches from Texas to Oregon so there was little to none available to make up for California’s power shortage.

    Completely ignored is that California has been shutting down a huge source of safe, reliable, always-on, non-carbon dioxide–emitting, climate-friendly electricity—that is, nuclear power.

    In 2013, state regulators forced the closing of the San Onofre nuclear power plant that supplied electricity to 1.4 million households.

    By 2025, California regulators plan to close down the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant that can supply electricity to 3 million households.

    The problem of climate change, along with the blackouts resulting from the inherent vagaries of wind and solar power, are an indication that California should not only keep its nuclear power plants running but also build many more of them.

  2. Hey, I just thought of a brilliant solution to California’s black out problem and it will be incredibly cost effective. Hook up a circular cage to the power grid, place it on a horizontal axle, place a squirrel in it, with a chestnut just out of reach and as the squirrel races to get the nut, the wheel will turn and generate electricity with little cost. The only costs involved would be the upfront cost of the building of the wheel followed by a modest expense of an occassional replacement of the chestnut. That expense can easily be controlled by the placement of the chestnut. During high demand periods for example, the chestnut can be located near enough to the squirrel that it will get the impression that if it runs fast enough it will get the treat. The faster the wheel turns, the more electricity is generated. Just a thought.

  3. “Compounding the danger is the unfortunate reality that California’s electricity capacity — arguably the most “green” in the nation — can’t handle the demand needed to run the air conditioning.”

    California “relying” on UNRELIABLE RENEWABLES yields a display of utter foolishness, when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing, which often happens in California, Germany, and New England THROUGHOUT the year.

    A few decades ago, Denmark had NO MEANINGFUL wind for TWO MONTHS.

    Governor Newsom claiming this was a surprise, or a failure in planning, is an utter lie/hogwash/horse manure.
    His own energy systems engineers have been telling him for years you cannot shut down 9000 MW of RELIABLE supply.

    I am so glad the great state of California is a “leader” in stupidity.
    Vermont RE bureaucrats should learn from this, instead of stupidly/mindlessly “emulating” California.


    California is planning to shut down more traditional plants.

    In “preparation” for that next heat wave to hit California’s growing population, the California dysfunctional RE bureaucrats are planning on shutting down four power plants that have been providing continuous electricity to the grid.

    The four upcoming losses of continuous generating electricity are:

    1. PG&E’s Nuclear 2,160 megawatt Generating Plant at Diablo Canyon is to be shuttered in 2024.
    2. The 823 mw Natural Gas Power Plant at Scattergood in Playa Del Rey, to be shuttered in 2024.
    3. The 575 mw Natural Gas Power Plant at Haynes in Long Beach, to be shuttered in 2029.
    4. The 472 mw Natural Gas Power Plant at Wilmington, to be shuttered in 2029.

    For a state that IMPORTS more electricity than any other state in America, now at 32 percent, and already has the highest cost of electricity, c/kWh, in the country for its 40 million residents, the dysfunctional energy policies have no plans to replace the capacity being lost from those four power plant closures, other than building out more of unreliable solar and wind.

    The “hope” is that the Northwest and Southwest will be able to generate enough power for import by California to meet the electricity demands of California.

    But that HOPE is ill-founded during a multi-day heat wave.

    GWSA should be immediately cancelled, even though it was “passed” by a lot of uninformed Legislators

    The only thing that makes any sense in Vermont is 1) energy conservation, 2) energy efficiency, and 3) highly-insulated and highly-sealed, zero-net-energy, buildings, all over the state, by the thousands, each year.

  4. The sad reality of renewable energy non- reliability comes home to roost……..And not a peep from VPRIG, CLF, 350.Org, Bill McKibben, the Global Warming Solutions Act champions in the VT legislature, the renewable energy associations and lobbyist or the kids from UVM studying ecology………What’s this world coming to?

    If Rob doesn’t send it, what are the chances that the serious of this event makes on to the VTDigger?

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