Days after California phased out the sale of gas vehicles by banning their sale in 2035, Californians are now being advised not to charge their electric cars due to the excessive burden they’re placing on the power grid.
In addition to the advice not to charge EVs during certain hours, California residents are being told to adjust their thermostats to 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher and avoid using heavy appliances. They’re also being told to shut off the lights.
State officials have yet to reveal how they plan on dealing with the overwhelmed power grid during the heatwave — either now or in the future, when more electric vehicles are expected to hit the roads.
“It’s pretty clear Mother Nature has outrun us,” said California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who issued an executive order to free up emergency power supplies on Wednesday, AP News reported. “The reality is we’re living in an age of extremes — extreme heat, extreme drought.”
California’s struggle to keep up with energy demand during the heatwave is a repeat of the summer of 2020, when rolling outages struck large portions of the state and left millions with intermittent electricity.
Californians are being advised to brace for potential blackouts as the grid is run to capacity over the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
“The top three conservation actions are to set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoid using large appliances and charging electric vehicles, and turn off unnecessary lights,” read a statement from California Independent System Operator (CAISO). “Lowering electricity use during that time will ease strain on the system, and prevent more drastic measures, including rotating power outages.”
“If weather or grid conditions worsen, the ISO may issue a series of emergency notifications to access additional resources and prepare market participants and the public for potential energy shortages and the need to conserve,” the grid operator added.
Next Monday, the state’s power grid is expected to exceed 48,000 megawatts, the highest of the year, as the heatwave is projected to send temperatures soaring 10-20 degrees above normal.
California’s environmental lobby continues to ride the green wave of renewable energy while simultaneously rejecting nuclear energy as a viable alternative, even as its power grid is taken to the brink.
To Newsom’s credit, the governor is one of the few Democrat lawmakers currently pushing legislation to extend the operation of the state’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, the Wall Street Journal reported.
A spokesman for Mr. Newsom said the governor’s office is “making real progress” in negotiating with the legislature and expects a bill to pass. Several lawmakers agreed there is a reasonable chance that the governor can rally the necessary support.
The 2,250-megawatt Diablo Canyon plant supplies roughly 8% of the power produced in California. PG&E in 2016 agreed to decommission it when its federal operating licenses expire, saying it would be cheaper to replace the output with renewable energy than to re-license it and keep it running. The company said the plant is seismically safe and it stands ready to support any changes to state policy.