CA households can help prevent blackouts by reducing energy use, expert says

2 mins read

Hot temperatures in September are common in Bay Area, but climate scientists are deeply concerned about just how hot it is getting. 

Livermore could reach 100 degrees on Thursday.

“That would have been closer to 97 degrees Fahrenheit in a preindustrial climate. And we would expect this same type of day to be more like 104 degrees Fahrenheit in a three degrees Celsius warmed world at the end of the century in 2100,” explains Patrick Brown, a climate scientist at the Breakthrough Institute and a visiting scholar at San Jose State University.

According to Brown, the impact of global warming on California is drier conditions. Not only does this increases the threat of wildfires, but it also increases the demand for energy during heat waves. 

“Monday and Tuesday, we are likely to be above 48,000 megawatts. That is believed to be the highest we have seen this year,” says Elliot Mainzer, CEO of the California Independent System Operator.

Brown says the drought means California has less hydroelectric power. And currently, California can’t store huge amounts of solar energy. 

“Enough storage to store solar energy from the middle of the day and move it to the evening,” says Brown.

That’s why a Flex Alert was issued to conserve power to prevent blackouts.

“The surprising thing is, how much of a difference individual homes can make,” says Cisco DeVries, CEO of OhmConnect.

According to DeVries, if households, ranging from big homes to apartments, reduce energy by 25 percent, it could be enough to prevent blackouts. 

“What it takes is about 50,000 customers to reduce their energy use by a bit, and that’s enough to make up for an entire power plant not having to turn on,” says DeVries. “Together, we can actually reduce over 200 megawatts at a time. That’s like taking a small city and just turning it off.”