California residents and businesses have been asked to cut down on energy use Wednesday as high temperatures affect large swaths of the state.
The California Independent System Operator issued a Flex Alert across the entire state, asking Californians to limit energy use between the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday. Areas of California are expected to surpass 100 degrees.
“With above-normal temperatures in the forecast across much of the state tomorrow, the power grid operator is expecting an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use, and is calling for voluntary conservation steps to help balance supply and demand,” California ISO reportedly said in a statement.
The California ISO has issued a statewide #FlexAlert for Wednesday, August 17, from 4-9 p.m. due to excessive heat and high energy demand. Consumers are urged to reduce energy use to protect grid reliability. Read the news release: https://t.co/AKKsHGVgSL pic.twitter.com/EPwe9oBMJj
— California ISO (@California_ISO) August 16, 2022
A news release issued on Tuesday said that the request for conservation is “due to predicted high temperatures pushing up energy demand and tightening available power supplies.”
The release added that it is “urg[ing]” consumers to conserve power, specifically during the later hours of the afternoon and early hours of the night because that is “when the grid is most stressed due to higher demand and less solar energy.” Cutting back on power use during a Flex Alert can assist in balancing the grid when supply is limited, and it can avoid more drastic emergency steps, like power outages, the statement noted.
The ISO suggested that Californians should set their thermostats to 72 degrees before 4 p.m., and use that time to run main appliances like washers, dryers, dishwashers, ovens, and stoves. They should also shut the blinds to block light and heat from the windows.
During the Flex Alert time period, Californians were told to set their thermostats to 78 degrees or more, “if health permits,” not use major appliances and shut off all lights that are not needed.
The electric grid has been an issue for California in recent years. In August of 2020, rolling outages plagued the state as the grid couldn’t keep up with high temperatures. The ISO issued outages during the intense heat wave.
Democratic Governor of California Gavin Newsom requested a report on the cause of the outages, which was issued early last year.
“This final report confirms our initial findings and reaffirms that our agencies are taking the right actions to update processes and strengthen California’s grid in the face of this crisis and worsening climate impacts,” California Energy Commission (CEC) Chair David Hochschild said. “We have more to do to ensure long-term reliability but despite challenges, we remain relentlessly committed to transitioning our state to a clean energy future for all.”
California’s rapid shift to green energy has impacted power supplies in the state and left the stability of the electric grid in question. Newsom recently released a proposal to keep the state’s last nuclear plant open as the state transitions to clean energy and is in dire need of power.