California’s electric grid operator declared a “Flex Alert” Friday morning, showing all that mandated solar and wind power can’t reliably keep the lights on in California. California’s politically driven renewable energy mandates are likely to cause more blackouts this summer outside of California after a remarkable ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that allows California to hijack electricity that Arizona already contracted to receive.
California is America’s largest importer of electricity. The Golden State also mandates an increasingly large share of renewable energy on its electric grid with a goal of 60 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045, while banning the renewal of coal-fired power contracts to provide electricity to California from out of state.
This would be fine if the consequences of these mandates were limited to those who voted for them. But they’re not. Because California’s grid is part of the Western Interconnection, its laws and regulations on electricity affect eight Western states and parts of four more, including El Paso, Texas.
How California’s Mess Is Affecting Other States
Fearful of blackouts this summer that might affect the Sept. 14 recall election targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom, California’s grid operators are buying up power around the West. This prompted Arizona officials to warn that California’s actions may lead to blackouts in Arizona, with Arizona Corporation Commission Chairwoman Lea Márquez Peterson blasting the late June FERC decision to prioritize electric utilities in California over those of other Western states.
“Our electric utilities did the right thing and planned ahead, securing pre-negotiated contracts with utilities in the Pacific Northwest to ensure that critical hydropower would be available to Arizonans when it would be needed the most, which would be delivered across transmission line through the state of California,” Márquez Peterson noted in a statement.
Tucson Electric Power and Arizona Public Service, two Arizona utilities, specifically warned that California was “exporting its reliability issues which are the result of dynamics within (California) to the rest of the West.” I raised this issue in 2017 and 2019, but regulatory agencies and elected officials too often wait until after a
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