- If conditions worsen, utilities will determine how to rotate outages.
- Over the Labor Day weekend, the drought-stricken state will continue to experience sweltering heat for most of the week.
- A broad area of high pressure located in the western interior may weaken this weekend.
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Record temperatures that fueled record power demands in California on Tuesday drained the power grid and could cause more rotating outages, officials said.
More than 500,000 customers in California were given advance notice until Tuesday afternoon to prepare for possible rolling blackouts, known as rolling blackouts. Pacific Gas and Electric said. Hours later, California’s electric grid operator issued Level 3 power emergency warnings across the state, saying immediate rolling blackouts were “very likely.” said the grid operator.
Eliot Mainzer, CEO of the California Independent System Operator, said the “unusual heat event we’re experiencing” makes it imperative that homes and businesses reduce energy use after 4 p.m.
California’s grid reached peak demand of more than 52,000 megawatts just after 7 p.m. Tuesday, a new record for the state. The maximum capacity of the state is 56,000 MW. Despite the alarming numbers, California’s grid operator said on Twitter “Safety makes a difference.”
The organization declared a state of emergency on Monday from 5 pm to 9 pm. A “flex alert” urging consumers to reduce their electricity use was extended until Wednesday, marking eight consecutive days of calls to cut demand.
“Over the past several days, we’ve seen a positive impact on reducing demand because of everyone’s help,” Mainzer said. “But now we need to reduce energy use two or three times more than we’ve seen so far. .”
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How do rotating malfunctions work?
California’s grid operator ended its energy emergency alert for residents of Northern and Southern California at 8 p.m. Tuesday, contributing to consumer safety as an important part of protecting the electric grid.
Earlier, the The grid operator issued a level 3 power emergency alert, Predicting grid-wide power shortages and “imminent or in progress” blackouts.
Parts of Northern California, such as Palo Alto and Alameda, had rotating outages to meet the state’s needs, but power was restored before 8 p.m. Tuesday.
“No rotating outages tonight,” Alameda Municipal Power said on Twitter. “Crews are working to restore power to all customers during the initial hours of the outage.”
applications Determines how to rotate crashes. The goal: keep them as short as possible. For two days in August 2020, outages affecting about 800,000 homes and businesses lasted anywhere from 15 minutes to about 2½ hours, Mainzer said — the first outages ordered in California due to insufficient supplies in nearly 20 years.
“We don’t want to get to that point, of course,” Mainzer said. “We want everyone to be prepared.”
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How California Gets Its Power
California’s energy grid consists mostly of solar and natural gas during the day, with some electricity imported from other states. But solar power begins to fall later in the day, the hottest time in some parts of the state. Some aging natural gas plants in California rely on backup power to combat hot weather.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom last week signed legislation to allow the state’s last nuclear power plant, the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, to remain open for an additional five years beyond its planned 2025 shutdown.
Weather that fuels wildfires
Wildfire danger has intensified as scorching heat and dry weather have turned into brush. Four deaths were reported as more than 4,000 firefighters battled blazes across the state over the Labor Day weekend — and 45 new blazes on Sunday alone, said Anale Burlew, deputy chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Wildfires can also affect power outages, said Daniel Kammen, an energy professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
“But one of the big unknowns is that we’re also expecting wildfires. And wildfires may have to close some transmission lines, knocking them out to prevent wildfires,” he told USA TODAY.
Fires that threaten areas with power lines above ground will “roll out brownouts,” Kammen said, where early shutdowns are planned to prevent fires from spreading further.
More serious’: California and other western states have been scorching hot this week
Cities break temperature records
More than 100 records for daily high temperatures could be broken between Sunday and Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.
California’s capital recorded 117 degrees at Sacramento International Airport on Monday, breaking the all-time high temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit set in 1961.
Sacramento, which didn’t top 109 degrees the previous September, is expected to top 110 degrees all but one day starting Saturday. Fresno in the Central Valley surpassed its September record of 111.
Death Valley, California, the nation’s hottest place, is forecast to hit 125 degrees on Tuesday, continuing the unprecedented blistering heat and breaking the highest September temperature ever recorded on Earth. The record was 126 degrees.
Forecasters warned that Death Valley’s famous Furnace Creek thermometer could produce even higher readings.
“It’s not an official thermometer — so it’s not really used to set records,” said Brian Plans, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Las Vegas.
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When will the relief come?
AccuWeather reports that a broad area of high pressure located in the western interior may weaken this weekend. That would allow cold air to slide from Canada through the Northwestern states through the Rockies.
A cooling effect over southern California, southern Nevada and Arizona will help by increasing cloud cover, in part because Hurricane K is now offshore off the coast of Mexico, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.
Contributed by: George L. Ortiz, America Today