On Thursday, in anticipation of another major heat wave to hit during the weekend, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an emergency proclamation to suspend some permitting requirements and push forward other measures to free up power for projected higher electrical demand across the state.
Temperatures during Labor Day weekend are expected to be between 15 and 20 degrees higher than usual and will last until Monday of next week. Southern California and much of the coast expects temperatures in the low 100’s, and much like the last heat wave, could exacerbate wildfires currently burning in California.
Wanting to avoid electricity stresses and statewide rolling blackouts as occurred last month, the Governor issued the proclamation to help ensure that citizens will have electricity, and, in turn, fans and air conditioning, to make it through the week.
“Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an emergency proclamation to free up additional energy capacity amid extreme temperatures across California,” said the Governor’s office in a press release. “The proclamation permits power plants to generate more power by suspending certain permitting requirements, helping to alleviate the heat-induced demands on the state’s energy grid.”
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) September 4, 2020
The order will allow the use of stationary and portable generators statewide without the need of permits or other similar factors to help alleviate the grid. Ships will also not have to use power from the coast under Newsom’s proclamation and can use on-board generator or auxiliary power instead at the discretion of the California Air Resources Board, which normally requires ships to draw power from the land to reduce pollution.
Many waste discharge limits for power plants, especially those near the Pacific coast which use seawater as a coolant, will have their limits waived. Many permit requirements, such as limiting the amount of fuel for power plants, having a power cap, or being limited by environmental laws from generating additional electricity between 3 and 10 PM, are also currently suspended for the next 4 days.
Despite the much looser laws and energy parameters, power plants will still need to report any violations not affected by the proclamation to local or state authorities.
Energy experts have said that these measures can work to a certain point.
“This isn’t going to be limitless energy, but it will definitely help alleviate the grid better than last month,” explained wind power advisor Derek Svoboda. “The Governor wants to avoid having those rolling blackouts again, and by putting in these temporary measures, it can work to some extent. Ship generators can help coastal areas keep more power in, especially in San Diego, LA, and Oakland. Stand alone generators can help out in spots. And allowing plants to generate electricity, and even waive some pollution limits temporarily, well, that can increase electrical output.”
“I don’t want to attach a figure or even give a ballpark estimate because there are too many variables, but suffice to say, there will be a significant amount of extra electricity being produced that will be used.”
The emergency proclamation will stay active until September 8th, with ships needing to follow the proclamation even longer until September 11th.
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