SAN FRANCISCO — Gov. Gavin Newsom declared an emergency Tuesday over wildfires burning throughout California amid excessive heat as the state’s power grid operator pleaded with residents and businesses to continue conserving energy to avoid rolling blackouts.
At a cooling center in Sacramento, Newsom applauded industries, business and residents for driving down energy usage Monday but warned that temperatures and energy demands remain high into Wednesday as the state swelters under a heat dome.
“We’re in a critical 48-hour period, critical period this evening and we’re doing everything in our power to understand the root causes of this,” and to mitigate future rolling blackouts, he said.
Earlier in the day, Steve Berberich, president and CEO of the California Independent System Operator, had praised customers for astonishing conservation efforts that kept the power on Monday night.
He said operators were stunned by the “dramatic flattening” of consumption at 3 p.m. Monday after his office warned that as many as 3.3 million homes and businesses would be affected by rotating, two-hour outages. The order never was issued and the warning was canceled.
“It was stunning the conservation response that we got,” he said Tuesday. “I know it’s hot and I know it’s hard, but those same actions today can make all the difference in the world.”
The state is in a days-long heatwave that has stressed the electrical system and resulted in rolling blackouts over two nights last weekend. The strong ridge of high pressure responsible for the heat wave was expected to weaken, but excessive hot weather was forecast for the weekend as families stay at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Newsom declared a statewide emergency Tuesday, saying crews were battling some 30 large fires, with some sparked by lightning. “We are deploying every resource available to keep communities safe as California battles fires across the state during these extreme conditions,” he said.
Evacuations were in effect to the north and east of the San Francisco Bay Area, near Salinas in Monterey County, around Oroville Dam north of Sacramento, in remote Mendocino County and near the Nevada state line north of Lake Tahoe.
via The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)
August 19, 2020 at 05:13AM