Don’t charge electric cars, California government urges
California’s power grid operator warned residents of the Sunshine State that it will issue voluntary calls for power conservation in the coming days, as a heatwave threatens to interrupt the supply of electricity.
The California Independent System Operator (ISO), which manages the state’s power grid, said on Tuesday that it will issue a series of ‘Flex Alerts’ during the upcoming days, the Sacramento Bee reported. These alerts call for residents of the state to keep their thermostats above 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.5 Celsius), avoid using large appliances, and turn off all unnecessary lights.
Among a litany of power-saving tips, the ISO also urges Californians not to charge electric vehicles during the daytime.
Heatwaves increase the risk of blackouts, as households are forced to crank up their air conditioners. This risk is greatest during the early evening, when solar panels no longer function, but homes still need cooling and lighting. With temperatures set to reach 10-20 degrees above normal from Wednesday through to next Tuesday, peak demand is set to be reached on Monday, which is Labor Day.
The ISO’s warning came less than a week after the California Air Resources Board voted to approve a plan by Governor Gavin Newsom to ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars in California by 2035. While Newsom claimed that the ban would cut “915 million oil barrels worth of emissions” out of the air, the San Francisco Chronicle noted that it would require California to expand the capacity of its power grid by 30%.
An analysis by CalMatters, a nonprofit news organization, found that Newsom’s plan could also put almost 32,000 mechanics out of business.
Newsom has urged state lawmakers to give up to $1.4 billion to power company PG&E Corp to keep California’s last remaining nuclear plant open for another ten years to avert the consequences of his own ban.