Will California freeze in the dark?
The current electricity crisis in California is an echo of a similar situation in 2000–2001. There were power generation issues then, due in part to shortages causing rising prices for natural gas. One factor in the shortages was an explosion in an El Paso Natural Gas pipeline in New Mexico bringing Texas natural gas to California.
At the time of year between the summer cooling and winter heating peaks in electrical demand, the utilities use any available pipeline capacity to put gas into underground storage. Without Texas gas arriving through the ruptured EPNG pipelines, those natural gas storage operations fell short. They should ask Congressman Brad Sherman and Erin Brockovich how much gas is currently in storage at Aliso Canyon.
Eighty MWHs of battery storage won't last long enough to provide two full hours of the expected demand.
As Texans learned during their own cold spell in February 2021, you can't run gas-fired power plants without a supply of natural gas.
The California electric grid operator, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), allocates power; it does not generate power.
What should worry Californians is not warm weather, but cold weather. Those who want proof need look no farther than the rolling blackouts in January 2001 and the fall of former governor Gray Davis (D).
A major problem for California will arrive about the winter solstice, in that the solar energy plants won't be able to provide full "installed generating capacity" due to the low elevation of the sun at Local Apparent Noon (LAN) and the shortened hours of daylight.
The average minimum temperature (usually the minimum temperature is noted during the night) in San Francisco in January is 8.2°C (46.76°F). The amount of rain in January is high with an average of 111mm (4.4in). It rains on average a total of 12 days. The average maximum daytime temperature lies around 14.4°C (57.92°F). This makes January the coldest month of the year. The sun will occasionally show itself with 186 hours of sunshine during the whole month.
One hundred eighty-six hours out of 744 hours in the month of January is a mere 25%.
This time, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Democrats won't have Enron and Dick Cheney to blame as Californians make Texans' dreams come true and "freeze in the dark."
What will the Democrats do? Send Vice President Kamala Harris to the rescue?
Image: Salim Virji.