California plans for reliable clean energy electric grid as summer approaches
Thu, May 25, 2023 3:11 PM
By Ria Roebuck Joseph, The Center Square
In a press conference today at Moxion headquarters in Richmond, California Governor Gavin Newsom along with Paul Hillscamp Moxion co-founder and CEO of Moxion Power Co., Amisha Rai, Vice President, Policy and Advocacy at Advanced Energy United, Siva Gunda, Vice Chair California Energy Commission and Alice Reynolds, President of California Public Utilities Commission, announced a plan for the state’s clean energy.
The nature of change is why there is a need for building a clean energy future according to Newsom. “We’ve moved way past the debate around what’s happening with our climate,” he said. “We need to alter our approach and strategy to address these extremes.”
California is meeting its climate goals ahead of schedule according to Newsom. The state exceeded its goal to sell 1.5 million vehicles by 2025, reaching that figure earlier this year. By 2035 all vehicles should run on alternative energy and 90% of the grid would be renewables. The goal is to be carbon free by 2045.
“The question now is how do we deliver the reliability of the grid. How do we achieve the affordability?” Newsom emphasized.
Reynolds explained the scale of the undertaking in making California run on 100% green energy. CPUC is electrifying massive ports, the largest in the country, warehouses, truck fleets, airports, installing data centers, stadiums and supplying energy for the activities of 40 million people living in dense cities, sprawling suburbs and very remote area throughout the state, all being electrified with 100% clean energy by 2045 by every single Californian in a carbon free system.
Success depends on the flexibility to scale up or down as needed and the timing of the development which must be aligned with the rate of the state’s growth and adoption of EVs and clean energy homes.
“For energy systems planning is key, the system must be ready at any time to serve California’s energy load at its peak,” Reynolds said.
The system needs to be equipped to provide generation, transmission and distribution capacity, where and when it is needed.
Reliability is the top priority, Gunda explained, and planning for weather extremes has been the focus of the energy agencies.
“As we move into the summer, if we have a catastrophic fire again and coincidental with the number of the heat events, the grid is going to be stressed.” Gunda said, but contingencies are being planned to mitigate the demand on the grid.
Long term California has 3 core challenges that is necessary to ensure reliability:
Planning - sufficient data to really understand climate variability to include in forecasting processes. Scaling - Rapid building of resources; California needs 5 times more clean energy resources that are presently available.Working together - enough contingencies planned to get through extreme events.
Gunda disclosed that California achieved Renewable Portfolio Standards goals ahead of time with 37% renewable sources of energy from resources like solar and wind, and when other clean energy sources are counted, like hydro and nuclear power, California is at 59% today.
“We need to move with speed and scale ... We have to accelerate our transition,“ Newsom said. “Now we are laying out a specific strategy to achieve our audacious goals.”