California’s power grid operator says it will be better prepared this summer

Local News

FOLSOM, Calif. (KTXL) — The California Independent System Operator said Thursday the state’s energy grid will be better prepared to handle this year’s expected heat waves.

The power grid operator’s annual Summer Assessment, which covers expected energy supply and demand for the upcoming summer months, shows an extra 2,000 megawatts of resources available to take on yet another season of intense heat. According to Thursday’s release, that would include “battery storage that is expected to absorb excess renewable energy in the middle of the day, and inject it back into the grid after sunset when solar generation goes offline.”

California ISO says there could be another 1,000 to 1,500 megawatts of new resources by summer.

Just last month, the California ISO’s board approved several policies to provide financial incentives to import power, have producers procure other energy sources to compensate for plant maintenance shutdowns and require storage facilities to keep batteries charged when supplies get tight.

For two days last August, hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses experienced rolling blackouts amid triple-digit heat. It had been nearly two decades since California ISO last ordered utilities to cut electricity to their customers in such a manner.

“By incorporating last August’s historical heat wave into the assessment, it pushes weather previously regarded as extreme into what is now considered more normal ranges,” California ISO said in its release.

A 121-page report released in October blamed the rolling outages on the heat wave and poor planning and practices.

In the face of above-average spring temperatures and a worsening drought, California ISO says it “will be providing Californians with advance notice of stressed grid conditions along with specific actions they can take to help reduce demand for power.” That includes a “refreshed Flex Alert campaign” that will launch in June.

The Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee will also be holding an oversight hearing next Tuesday to discuss what’s being done to prepare for this summer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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