California Stage 3 Power Outages and How to Combat Them


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California, the most populous state in the country was unable to safely sustain its energy usage on Friday.  The intense heat has caused air conditioner systems to overburden the system, and rolling blackouts went into effect.  In a time where sentiments often guide decisions, not enough nuclear power has been implemented, solar energy produces energy by day, but when the sun goes down, the grid must compensate with good old fashioned oil and gas.  The National Weather Service issued an Excessive Heat Warning for communities in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties through Monday, in addition to a Heat Advisory for the Los Angeles coast and downtown.

2020 seems to be the crisis year.  In a time when we're trying not to rely on China, solar energy relies on Chinese production for growth and expansion.  U.S. manufacturing of panels would require panels to retail between 500 and 800% higher pricing than when panels are manufactured and shipped from China.  The 30% tarriff isn't enough to jump start U.S. manufacturing of solar panels.  I know this from experience in the piano industry.  When Chinese labor is 19 cents per hour, and U.S. is $19.00, and you have a product that takes some labor to assemble, there is just no way to compete.  On the backs of Chinese laborers, we are able to live like kings here in America, and everybody seems to be happy for it... that is until the trade stops because of a manufactured covid virus, and the world comes to a standstill.  It's not a happy place when the things you need and replacement parts aren't just a phone call away.  

So we look at a problem and seek out the fastest of solutions.  I suggest that it's not that far off.  In fact, this problem has happened somewhere else before!  And there is already a fix for it!  

In Germany, government solar incentives are far greater than in the U.S. (but energy costs 3x as much)...  So there's a lot more solar than there is here.  Because of this, when the sun is shining, there's a surplus of energy in Germany.  But when the sun goes down, there is none.... or so it was.  Creative battery integration by companies such as Sonen or Eguana have whole-house backup systems that have an alternative function.  They are high quality 100 year 1/2-life batteries that can outlast your solar system or at least keep up, and can be programmed to cycle daily!  

Because of the rolling energy issues, there is a new energy commodities-like market for energy in Germany.  When wind and solar are generating, the cost is cheap.  When the sun goes down, the price goes up.  So these new battery integrations make it so you can expel the energy when the price is high (also when the grid really needs it), and make a profit from your battery integration.  

This is what California needs, and this is how we need to build our systems in the U.S.   We need battery backup for each solar system, giving individuals stability and a barrier against outages, and allowing them to invest extra on energy storage to support a growing grid.  It's quite a simple fix to a big mess.  More batteries on household solar should do the trick.  But that also is not without it's cost.  Simple systems can start at about $17,000.00, but are far better, longer lasting, and more advanced than lightweight lithium ion counterparts.  The more battery systems that go online, the more night-time energy for the grid.  Simple as that.  

Oh by the way, in case you haven't gone there yet, it's time for solar everywhere there is sun.  You're missing the boat.  Time to get on board.  The tech is here, but so many don't understand how to make it work for them.  Reach out and ask your local solar guy.  Or you can communicate in our Living off the grid group.  I'm always looking on.  If you're in Florida, I'm happy to help.  941-67-Sunny.  We also do nationwide shipped kits.  

Below is the detail on California's energy crisis:

On Twitter, Cal-ISO warned "If system conditions don't improve, the ISO will call a Stage 3 with rotating power outages."
The Southern California heat wave is expected to last through the weekend.  Residents were urged to set their air conditioner thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, turn off unnecessary lights, and avoid using major appliances between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday.   Cal ISO said the previously-issued Flex Alert was extended to 10 p.m., asking residents to conserve electricity

 

"It was triggered by not enough energy and we started to dip into our reserves, which is dangerous," said Anne Gonzales, a Cal ISO spokesperson.
 
"A Stage 3 Emergency is declared when demand outpaces available supply. Rotating power interruptions have been initiated to maintain stability of the electric grid," Cal ISO said in a news release.
 
Just before 7:30 p.m., the City of Anaheim said rolling power outages were underway across the city and would last "no longer than 15 minutes."
 
According to SCE, the rotating outages typically last about an hour.
 
Around 7 p.m., Southern California Edison said at the direction of the California Independent System Operator, they were implementing rotating power outages.
 
Power was restored statewide Friday night after rotating outages were initiated when a Stage 3 emergency went into effect due to higher demand for power.
 
Power was restored statewide Friday night after rotating outages were initiated when a Stage 3 emergency went into effect due to higher demand for power.

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