In a surprise about-face in California’s love affair with the climate change darlings of wind and solar energy, it was announced on Friday 8/13 that California’s Department of Water Resources is now in the process of designing, financing, and building five new 30-megawatt natural gas power plants. According to recent news reports, these go “counter” to the state plan of decarbonizing the electricity grid to reduce emissions.
As reported in the Fresno Bee, CA Assembly member Jim Patterson broke the news:
The decision to install the five plants has been a result of flawed policies by decision-makers, he said.
“California has been forced to do this because we now have growing demand on a grid that has flattening supplies and that has caused these Flex Alerts,” he said.
“Our grid is destabilized because of political decisions.”
He’s certainly right about that.
As reported in Bloomberg:
Earlier this year, California regulators balked at ordering utilities to add new gas-fired generation after environmental groups said it would run counter to the state’s decarbonization goals. Officials have been scrambling to shore up power resources ever since brief blackouts hit in August 2020 during an extreme heat wave.
My report on the August 2020 heatwave, Thanks to Climate-Driven Green Energy Mandates, California’s Electric Grid Is Near Collapse, said this about the reason behind power blackouts:
The reason? Solar power, or more accurately, the lack of it. Solar power has a thorny problem: It disappears after sunset. And California’s electric grid is highly dependent on it now thanks to the political mandate known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32).
AB32 required that 50 percent of California’s electricity to be powered by “green energy” aka wind and solar, by 2025 and 60 percent by 2030, ending in 100 percent “carbon free” energy by 2045.
It seems they learned a hard lesson from that August 2020 event when the grid nearly collapsed because wind and solar power just couldn’t keep up.
Maybe, just maybe, California lawmakers are waking up to the reality that you can’t have a reliable electricity grid when you are populating it with unreliable wind and solar energy in a vain attempt to chase the elusive “net zero” carbon free footprint being touted by environmentalists.