As households and businesses fire up their air conditioners to escape what is expected to be a scorching heatwave, the California power system operator advised the public to prepare to save electricity the following week if necessary.
Since the February freeze in Texas, electricity rates had already risen to their highest level when natural gas pipes and wind turbines froze, leaving millions without power.
Possible Power Outages
"It is still too early to tell the precise impact that next week's high temperatures will have on the electric grid," the California ISO, which oversees the state's electricity infrastructure, said in a statement.
However, the ISO stated that it will warn the public if it is necessary to cut power usage, including a call for public conservation. If the system becomes badly overloaded, rotating outages.
When energy supplies ran low last summer, California utilities were compelled to implement alternating blackouts, leaving over 400,000 households and businesses without electricity for up to 2-1/2 hours.
According to AccuWeather predictions, high temperatures in Los Angeles will reach the low 90s Fahrenheit (approximately 34 C) next week, approximately 20 degrees higher than the average high for this time of year.
Because the state increasingly relies on intermittent energy sources like wind and solar, and as climate change causes more extreme heat events, drought, and wildfires across the United States West, the group in charge of North American electric reliability has already warned that California is the U.S. region most at risk of power shortages this summer.
Power rates in Palo Verde in Arizona and SP-15 in Southern California soared to $151 per megawatt-hour (MWh) on Friday for Monday, the most since the February freeze forced prices throughout the country to surge.
Worsening California Heat Wave
With a worsening drought gripping the West and wildfire season on the horizon, California is prepared for its most extreme heat wave of the year, one that will put a strain on the state's electricity grid while also foreshadowing a difficult few months ahead.
The heat wave will bring triple-digit temperatures to Southern California's valleys and inland areas, as well as many other portions of the state, increasing the danger of wildfires. Water restrictions are being implemented as the drought continues to wreak havoc on the Northern and Central California landscape.
Experts warn that the next heat wave would worsen the shortage of precipitation.
"High temperatures cause higher evaporation, which means we'll have less water to utilize later. Mike Wofford, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, said, "Obviously, we're not going to receive much rain anytime soon." "I'm not sure how much it makes it worse. It's already a disaster."
There have been severe periods of heat and drought in the past, notably a lengthy drought from 1945 to 1978. Still, the critical difference between then and today is the size of the state: Since the 1950s, California's population has doubled, putting additional demand on the state's power system, agricultural production, and limited water supplies.
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