A record-breaking heat storm is hitting California and for seven (7) consecutive days, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has called a “Flex Alert.” The Alerts have been in effect daily since September 1, during the peak electricity consumption hours from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The hope is that Californians state-wide will reduce their energy use while the Flex Alert is in effect, so that power outages may be prevented.
Hot temperatures are expected through Friday (9/9/2022), so it is likely that CAISO may continue these Alerts through the end of the week.
According to CAISO, Californians from 57 counties have participated in the Flex Alerts and reduced their electricity consumption.
Tuesday’s peak demand set a new high at 51,424 megawatts (MW), well above the all-time record of 50,270 MW set in 2006.
CalFIRE and CAISO are also closely monitoring wildfires which may also add varying threats to transmission lines.
State fire officials have warned that more fires could break out in the coming days, increasing the risk of lost lines or generation.
The California Department of Water Resources (CDWR) also reported late Monday that 4 temporary emergency power generators were activated to provide electricity to the grid. This is the first time they’re being used as part of an effort to help keep the lights on.
Governor Gavin Newsom has also issued an Executive Order to address some potential problems. The order is in effect through the extreme weather event. The Order also allows all backup generation to operate regardless of air emissions issues provided that CAISO issues an Energy Emergency Alert Watch (EEA Watch). The watches are being called a day ahead around 2:30 PM after the day ahead market analysis. CAISO has issued an EEA Watch every day since September 1.
On Tuesday afternoon (9/6), California narrowly avoided blackouts – thanks to 26,424 MWs of natural gas-fueled generation helping keep the lights on. The heatwave is supposed to last another 3 days, so the danger is not over.