California Renews Power-Conservation Plea Amid Heat, Fires
(Bloomberg) -- California’s grid operator asked consumers to conserve power, the latest request to ease electricity demand amid hot weather and wildfires.
The California Independent System Operator called for voluntary conservation Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., citing high energy demand as residents crank up air conditioners and tight supplies across the West. Officials also said they’re monitoring wildfires that could threaten generation and transmission.
“While the temperature forecast is slightly above normal for parts of California, and demand is projected to be moderately high, there are weather and demand uncertainties, which affects our forecasting,” the ISO said in a statement. “There is always the possibility of equipment failure and forced outages on the system.”
Dangerous heat has repeatedly strained the Golden State’s grid this year, prompting repeated pleas from officials asking for reduced electricity use to avoid blackouts. It’s increasingly becoming California’s new normal.
The warnings come just after the Bootleg fire in southern Oregon knocked out electrical lines so critical to the stability of grids in the western U.S. that California grid officials warned of rotating blackouts and Nevada faced a power emergency. The fast-moving blaze crippled transmission lines that California relies on for electricity imports.
The state’s grid tends to face the most strain in late afternoon and evening, when solar power supplies decline during the hottest parts of the day.
Temperatures in Central Valley cities from Sacramento to Fresno are forecast to top 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) through Friday, according to the National Weather Service. Highs in Los Angeles will be in the mid-80s.
By early next week, temperatures could soar again across California, the Pacific Northwest and even British Columbia in a pattern reminiscent of June’s record heat waves, said Jim Rouiller, lead meteorologist with the Energy Weather Group. That could strain the grid through mid-week, he said.
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