California energy use soars to highest level in years in record heat

With millions of homes and businesses turning on air conditioners to cope with temperatures above 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.3 Celsius), electricity use in the largest state of EU It will reach 48.9 gigawatts on Monday, the most since 2017. Conserve as much as possible, warning that the system could fall short by as much as 4 gigawatts.

“California has been ridiculously hot and will be for a good part of the week,” Bob Oravec, a senior meteorologist at the US Weather Prediction Center, said in an interview.

The prospect of blackouts underscores how vulnerable grids have become in the face of extreme weather conditions as they switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. California has aggressively shut down natural gas power plants in recent years, leaving the state increasingly reliant on solar farms that shut down late in the day when electricity demand peaks. At the same time, the state is enduring its worst drought in 1,200 years, sapping hydroelectric power production.

Much of California is under an excessive heat warning for the next four days. Sacramento could hit 113 on Monday and 115 on Tuesday breaking records for those days, Oravec said. The center of The Angels it hit 103 on Sunday, which was the first time the temperature had topped 100 this year.

The heat wave, which began the last week of August, is notable for both its ferocity and its duration, officials said.

Every day that the heat passes, the risk of power outages increases. Scorching temperatures seep into the concrete over time, making it increasingly difficult to cool buildings. And the longer power plants run at full throttle, the more likely they are to break down.

An emergency network watch is in effect for Monday night. California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an emergency proclamation to release additional power supplies.

The fight to keep power flowing in California is complicated by wildfires near Los Angeles and San Diego that threaten transmission lines and power plants, though there were no major outages as of Sunday afternoon, according to Elliot. Mainzer, executive director of California. Independent System Operator, which manages the state network.

A break from the heat will arrive in Southern California later this week, thanks to Tropical Storm Kay in the Pacific Ocean, Oravec said.

Kay, which will become a hurricane later this week, is forecast to skirt the coast of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. As it moves north, the storm will pump moisture and clouds into southern California and Arizona, cutting back on the heat.

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