After Rolling Blackouts, California Reconsiders Closing Gas Plants
California was well on its way to closing all coal and natural gas-fired power plants, and turning to nothing but wind and solar for their electrical needs.
But the summer of 2020 brought to California the same problems European countries faced when they tried the same things - brownouts and rolling blackouts.
A change of plan? Perhaps. The staff at the California Public Utilities Commission wants 4 natural gas power plants, scheduled for shutdown by the end of 2020, to stay open. "Without the gas plants," PUC staff said, "the state may face power shortfalls as soon as summer 2021 — specifically on hot days when energy demand remains high after the sun goes down and solar farms stop generating electricity…"
Loretta Lynch, former president of the Public Utilities Commission, said extending the coastal gas plants would provide the power the state has been lacking. “Everybody knows we’re got plenty of power,” she said. But the state will not have plenty of power if they keep shutting down the plants that provide reliable electricity.
State officials asked 4 "fossil fueled" power plants along the Southern California coast to stay open, deciding the facilities are still needed to provide reliable electricity even if, they claim, these plants "contribute to the climate crisis."
So the plants will stay open, for now. But then the question must be asked, does California do what Europe did, and turn their coal and gas plants back on after trying and failing to keep their state powered with wind and solar?