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Sacramento Bee: California Could Keep the Lights on by Expanding Grid Across the West, Report Finds

Posted by Ari Platchta on Apr 11, 2023

The Sacramento Bee explores the importance of expanding California's grid, quoting Amisha Rai on how California lawmakers should act quickly to work with neighboring states.

Expanding California’s electricity grid to cooperate with neighboring states would bolster reliability and affordability while reducing carbon emissions, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy concluded in a new report. The report released Monday said California would both maintain jurisdiction over energy rates and stay on track to meet its clean energy goals as nearby states such as Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington strive to meet theirs.

Heavier reliance on renewables in recent years has already increased interdependence among Western states but also given rise to lapses in reliability during periods of high demand. Californians have experienced that grid strain firsthand in recent years, including during last September’s record heatwave amid threats of rolling blackouts. In a regional grid, transmission operators outside California would transfer operation of their transmission system to a single body responsible for short-term power reliability across participating states.
The DOE report said a regional system would help states resist extreme weather events. If California were experiencing a heat wave, a regional operator could more easily move excess wind and solar power from states with high production and low demand to California.
Vice president of policy at Advanced Energy United Amisha Rai, part of a group of clean energy companies and environmental organizations supporting regionalization, said California risks being left behind if lawmakers don’t act quickly.

“I hope that decision makers and stakeholders take these findings seriously and really use them as a sort of guidance on how to approach this conversation,” Rai said. “We’re going to see an expanded grid in the West. The question is whether California can help lead the way.”

Read the full article here.

Topics: United In The News, Amisha Rai