We should “triple” on renewables, but we’ll need programs to turn off appliances and turn down AC


In Thursday’s edition of “CBS Prime Time,” Siva Gunda, a public member of the California Energy Commission, said the state needs to “double and triple the construction of renewable energy and clean energy resources,” but it would need more storage and also load reduction. programs that will automatically reduce the air conditioning and turn off appliances.

Gunda said: “What we have observed over the past few days is that clean energy resources, collectively, [have] worked as expected. But the strained network conditions we experienced in California [are] really on the historically high loads. So typically at this time of year we’re looking at about 45,000 megawatts of load. And what we experienced on Tuesday was a load of 52,000 megawatts, more than 7,000 megawatts more than we expected. And that 7,000 is more than the total peak load of… the Los Angeles electrical district as a whole.

Host John Dickerson then asked, “So what’s that – what are we supposed to conclude, is the switch to renewables great and it’s worked, but if we’re in an environment climate change here where we’re talking about…52,000 megawatts so maybe renewables are great but fossil fuels will still have to be a very big part of the mix or is it possible through renewables that could be easier to access in these times of crisis, whether this is the future strategy for what looks like a challenge that will come back again and again?”

Gunda replied, “I think we will, first of all, recognize that we are living in a new normal and work to develop the necessary cushion that is needed to carry us through these extraordinary times. We believe that in addition to the planning standards we currently have, we need to hold about 10% more measures in our pockets to get through these emergencies. Going back to your question of how does this fit in with the renewable energy transition, clean energy transition and fossil – so the big question here is we need to double and triple energy building renewables and clean energy resources as quickly as possible. we can. I think it’s important to note that the question is not really how fast we are moving and whether we should be going very fast, but really fighting climate change by acting as fast as possible by bringing in resources clean energy and not adding to the climate problem.

Dickerson then asked if renewables could handle emergencies better than fossil fuels.

Gunda replied, “The problem right now is really what we call the net peak problem, or when the solar really fails, and you still have a large load to carry because of the air conditioning load. So really, it’s about deploying a lot of storage very quickly to balance the load from the solar, and when the wind picks up, with the offshore wind, you really have to balance that part with the storage. So that’s the equation right now, how to deploy storage as quickly as possible. But, on top of that, given the volatility the heat will produce and these extraordinary events, how can you cushion the system with load reduction programs? Can we create load reduction programs that can quickly reduce the load, 2,000, 3,000 megawatts for a few hours a year so you don’t have to build that much? »

Dickerson then asked, “And these load reduction programs don’t just text people to tell people not to turn the lights on – or to turn them off… but they’re automatic systems that, from a signal , will turn down the air conditioning, turn off the washer, and do it automatically, is that what you’re basically talking about? »

Gunda replied, “You are absolutely right.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett




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