As temperatures soar above 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday, officials urged citizens to conserve energy between 4 and 9 p.m. local time (38 degrees Celsius). On its website, the grid operator for California, the California Independent System Operator, forewarned of potential power outages during that period.
Since the summer of 2020, when rolling blackouts enveloped parts of the state, it has faced its toughest test. It happens at a time when record temperatures brought on by climate change tax grids all over the world and as Russia’s war in Ukraine causes an energy crisis in Europe.
This summer, California has been plagued by the worst drought in 1,200 years, causing rivers and reservoirs to drop dangerously low. For a state that produces roughly 10% of its electricity from hydroelectric dams and has actively decommissioned natural-gas power stations in recent years, that has important ramifications.
According to grid operator Caiso, California’s electricity consumption is expected to increase during the next week and reach 48 gigawatts on Monday and Tuesday, which would be the state grid’s greatest demand since 2017. A shortage of contracted reserves, or extra supplies kept on hand as a backup to prevent blackouts, is anticipated by officials starting on Wednesday night at some of the busiest times.