“It’s almost 3 p.m. Time to turn off major appliances, set the thermostat to 78 degrees (or use a fan instead), turn off excess lights and unplug any appliances you’re not using.” No, this is not a line from the Hunger Games. This was part of a tweet from the mayor of Los Angeles, California, this weekend as part of an effort to get “every Californian to help conserve energy.”
Everyone wants to be able to keep themselves and their loved ones happy and healthy. Many Americans are already worried about whether they can keep their lights on, AC running, and appliances working – especially as COVID-19 continues. The last thing families should worry about is being forced to turn off these resources to keep their state’s power running. Unfortunately, during a record-breaking heatwave and as wildfires make their way across local communities, California has sacrificed the reliability of their electric grid for radical climate policies – and California’s taxpayers are left with the monetary, environmental, and economic costs of this reality.
Because state and local governments failed to diversify their energy sources, the Department of Energy (DOE) intervened to protect California’s residents. DOE issued a rare emergency order under the Federal Power Act (FPA) to allow the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to run three natural gas-fired facilities on their grid at full capacity to keep generating power across the state. This order is in effect for seven days and was issued in response to a request from CAISO.
DOE also noted California’s inability to rely on its grid during this time, with their spokesperson saying, “While the Secretary has offered this emergency assistance to California in this time of crisis, he also encourages state policymakers to evaluate why the grid is not able to handle extreme stress, which could be alleviated with the support of greater baseload power generation and natural gas supply.”
California has become ground zero for the consequences of radical climate policies that completely rely on renewable energy, the threat these policies pose to electric grid reliability, and the exorbitant costs involved for Californians, who not only pay high state taxes but now also have to pay high costs for utilities that may get shut off during the day. While renewables have their place in power generation, the only way to have reliable, affordable electricity is to utilize an all-of-the-above approach. Unfortunately, Democrats want to take these climate catastrophes nationwide. We can work to reduce emissions and leave our world better than we found it, but we must take into account the human costs of policies we create.