Fossil-Fueled Texas Handles the Heat; Renewable California Blacks Out

Liberal policies in the Golden State mean electricity supply can’t keep up with demand on 100-degree days…

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(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) California has set demanding limitations on its energy producers and providers by mandating that renewable sources provide 33 percent of the state’s energy by 2020 and 50 percent by 2030.

The state has faced high electricity prices and rolling blackouts due to limited competition, corruption, and restrained access to fossil fuel energy sources.

California had a rolling blackout caused by electricity shortages this year.

The first on Jan. 17 and 18 affected more than 675,000 homes, ABC News reported.

And high demand caused by extreme temperatures in southern California led to several blackouts earlier this month in Orange County and cities in Los Angeles County.

Orange County Patch reported that “residents were advised to keep thermostats at 78 or above, to conduct a judicious use of air conditioning and use of drapes, curtains and blinds to keep sunlight and heat out of rooms.”

Meanwhile in Texas, energy consumption reached an all-time high on July 16, peaking at 70,587 megawatts, Reuters reported.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said demand will stay at these levels into next week, as temperatures are expected to remain in near 100 degrees until July 25.

“We did not issue any conservation alerts or emergencies yesterday … So far, the system is performing as expected,” ERCOT spokeswoman Theresa Gage.

By contrast, Terry Winter, the CEO of California’s Independent Systems Operator, which operates the state’s electricity grid, lacked confidence in the state’s system.

“I hate to say this, but if people don’t conserve and really make a concerted effort to not use power, we’re right in the same situation tomorrow,” Winter said after the January blackouts.

Texas generated in 2017 more than two-thirds of its electricity from coal and natural gas, while the last third comes from nuclear, solar, and wind, the Scientific American reported.

California, on the other hand, generated the majority of its energy from natural gas and renewable energies.

The state produced 0.2 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants and 43.4 percent from natural gas in 2017, down from 0.8 percent and 61.1 percent in 2012, respectively.

Energy providers in California say they cannot make any profit because wholesale energy in the state is so expensive.

California's Renewable Grid Falters, Texas' Diversified Grid Thrives

Spencer Abraham

Former U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said after the 2001 energy crisis that summer blackouts could become the norm in California, as the state boxes itself into renewable energy requirements.

“California is just a sign of the what’s to come if we don’t diversify our energy resources,” he said in 2001, according to ABC News. “The failure to meet this challenge will threaten our nation’s economic prosperity, will compromise our national security and literally alter the way we live our lives.”

A rolling blackout occurs when California reaches a stage 3 emergency. In stage 1, the state begins drawing from power reserves. During stage 2, operating reserves slide below 5 percent. At stage 3, when reserves decrease to 1.5 percent, the California ISO orders energy suppliers to implement widespread power outages, Arstechnica reported.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s energy crisis in California — caused largely by corruption, bad regulations, and the Enron scandal — the state reached a stage 3 emergency 39 times and had more than 200 lower-level emergencies.

California has shut down its coal-fire and nuclear power plants to meet its radical renewables agenda.

The non-partisan Institute for Energy Research said another crisis could require the state to tap into its energy diesel, since its other energy sources require sunshine and wind.

The state also shut down its last nuclear power plant this year — even though the state’s last two nuclear plants generated one-tenth of the state’s electricity, the Hill reported.

Another problem for California is that citizens want to leave the state’s grid, and they have in droves, Bloomberg reported.

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California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Picker said residents may receive one-fourth of their energy outside the traditional utility-provider model, from “rooftop solar panels and community choice aggregators.”

With uncertainty about future demand for utilities, companies have not signed long-term contracts that would keep prices predictable.

This would increase the debt-burden of the already cash-strapped California utility companies.

“We have a hodgepodge of different providers,” Picker said. “If we aren’t careful, we could slide back to the kind of crisis we faced in 2000 and 2001.”

Some in California do not think the state is moving fast enough or taking enough risk in moving toward 100 percent renewable energy.

California Assembly Bill 813 would create a regional system of renewable energy that would claim to eliminate entirely the state’s dependence on fossil fuels.

“Instead of running gas plants here to take up the slack when the sun goes down when California needs to meet its evening peak energy use, renewable power from other states could take up the slack,” wrote Carl Zichella, director of western transmission for the Natural Resources Defense Council, according to the Desert Sun.

More radical bills like SB 100 would require California to become 100 percent reliable on renewable energies by 2045.