California Averts Blackouts, but More Extreme Heat Looms Ahead

California called off its power-grid emergency as night fell and temperatures dropped, averting rolling blackouts amid a heat wave that drove temperatures into triple-digits and sent electricity demand soaring.

The state’s grid operator took the rare step of ordering a stage-2 emergency -- one step away from mandatory outages -- as wildfires in Oregon threatened transmission lines bringing power into California. The move came as a historic drought grips the Western U.S. and temperatures reach record levels in parts of the region.

California Averts Blackouts, but More Extreme Heat Looms Ahead

The threat of blackouts underscored the power grid’s increasing vulnerability as climate change disrupts weather patterns and signal that shortfalls may continue this summer. Last August, California suffered its first rolling outages in almost two decades after hot weather sent electricity demand soaring beyond supplies. Parts of Washington and Idaho recently lost power as all-time high temperatures battered the electricity system.

The region isn’t fully in the clear yet. The heat wave is forecast to peak Saturday, with temperatures in Sacramento soaring to 112 degree Fahrenheit (44 Celsius). California’s power grid operator is once again asking for conservation.

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