On Wednesday, Newsom said California didn’t issue rolling blackouts when intense heat recently hit the state. He chastised allegations that the state couldn’t maintain power during the high demand.
In an interview with CNBC, Newsom said California’s demand for power almost came to 52,000 megawatts in the midst of the heat wave, a record amount. He claimed California’s push to quickly move to clean energy has provided around 4,000 megawatts to the electric grid that weren’t there a few years ago.
“That only reinforces that we’ve got to not just keep up, we’ve got to jump ahead of Mother Nature, and move this transition forward more aggressively,” Newsom said. “And we are committed to do that.”
The governor pushed back on reports by the media that said California couldn’t keep lights on during the high temperatures, claiming they “wished” power had been cut because “they want to kill our green energy transition.”
“They want to double down on stupid and continue to drill and actually do more damage,” Newsom said. “And get us more deep in the mess that we created that we’re trying to get out of, which is the hot is getting much hotter, the dry is getting much drier, and the extremes that are self evident, not just here in California, but all over the western United States and around the world, related to climate change.”
“So we want to solve for that,” he continued. “We don’t want to subsidize the problem that we’re trying to get out of. We want to move away from fossil fuels.”
The state’s quick transition to unreliable green energy, along with its closing of gas plants, has put the electric grid in a precarious and undependable condition. Residents of California were repeatedly asked to save energy when temperatures were high. Owners of electric vehicles were also asked not to charge their vehicles during certain time periods, after the state regulators greenlit a plan to end selling new gas-powered vehicles in the state by 2035.
The legislature also recently voted to maintain the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, keeping it operating past its expected closure dates. Lawmakers also approved legislation forcing new oil and gas wells to be established at least 3,200 feet away from certain community areas.
Zach Jewell contributed to this report.