Home FinanceEnergy & Environment Is California really embracing energy realism?

Is California really embracing energy realism?

by YAR

In a surprising change, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he would consider allowing the operator of the state’s only remaining nuclear power plant, located in Diablo Canyon, to request to keep the facility operating beyond its scheduled closure date. by 2025. Citing the need for power supplies, Newsom stated that “we need more tools in our toolbox.”

Newsom’s position marks almost a complete break from his previous views and statements. As lieutenant governor in 2016, Newsom was part of a deal reached with environmentalists and labor unions to close Diablo Canyon, long a target of environmentalists due to its proximity to several earthquake faults and other environmental problems, apparently due to the fact that the The State’s shift to renewable supplies would obviate the need for continued on-site energy production. While renewable energy has made significant strides in California, there’s no chance it could be the primary source of energy for California’s nearly 40 million residents any time soon.

In fact, the gap between the hopes for renewable energy and its reality is so great that California environmental officials celebrated the news that on Saturday, April 30, the Golden State produced enough renewable energy to power itself for just 15 minutes. Of course, that’s just a theoretical calculation, comparing the amount of energy produced in California during that specific time period to the total amount used throughout the State. However, it says nothing about how that energy could, in fact, be transmitted to where it is needed so that everyone who needs it can use it, since producing excess energy in one place is essentially meaningless without also there is a reliable and safe source. means of transmitting that surplus to other parts of the state where demand exceeds supply. Each element of that calculation has its own set of safety, reliability, and environmental issues that cannot be minimized.

That said, the milestone is important, both in showing how far we have come to date in achieving renewable energy independence and how far we still have to go. Fifteen minutes in May in California, where the weather is typically pleasant year-round and electricity demand is likely to be much more even than in other parts of the country, bears little relation to 24/7 power requirements. days of the week in places like Chicago or Boston. Still, it’s much better than we’ve achieved before, and it shows what we can possibly achieve.

The problem, of course, is what we do in the interim, that is, until the switch to all renewables is widespread and reliable enough to meet the energy needs of the rest of the country, and that depends in part on what What We Believe If, ​​like New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, we believe that the world as we know it will effectively end in twelve years without drastic climate action, then our decision is made.

Governor Newsom apparently believes otherwise. He understands that as we transition to renewable energy, we will still need power. In other words, we will need an available and reliable interim power source because we cannot expect to make such a radical switch to all renewable sources virtually overnight. While this may seem obvious, California has often done otherwise. But perhaps the magnitude and breadth of the current challenges are having an impact. California’s water resources continue to shrink and are reaching truly dangerous levels. Critical infrastructure, such as the Oroville Dam, nearly collapsed and required emergency repairs, costing close to $1 billion. Pacific Gas and Electric power lines have been blamed for some of the worst wildfires the Golden State has seen, including the recent “Dixie Fire.” Longtime residents are fleeing en masse, resulting in California’s first loss of representation in the United States Congress in history.

Important decisions must be made now. Governor Newsom recently announced that he would support a ban on fracking by 2024. Meanwhile, residents of Kern County, California’s top energy-producing county, are seeing a decline in jobs and tax revenue. If Governor Newsom truly intends to ban fracking in the next few years, he will need some way to continue to provide electricity and power to Californians until the critical infrastructure is built to allow a full shift to renewables to occur. For the Governor, his Diablo Canyon decision is just the first of what will likely have to be many compromises to keep the State running and simply habitable. It may be a small first step, but in a place like California, where environmental extremism has often tended to trump realism, the Governor’s stance is a marked change. The real questions are how long it will last and whether other states will follow Governor Newsom’s example.

weekly capitolAs Kern County advances, so does the nation – Capitol Weekly

New York City TimesWhy California plans to ban fracking (published in 2021)

the edgePG&E is responsible for another devastating fire

USA TODAYRenewable electricity propelled California just under 100% for the first time in history

AP NEWSLonger life for Diablo Canyon? Newsom touts nuclear extension

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