“Rolling electric power blackouts afflicted as many as 2 million California residents last week as a heat wave gripped the Golden State. (It’s apparently eased up for now.) At the center of the problem is that power demand peaks as overheated people turn up their air conditioning in the late afternoon just as solar power supplies cut off as the sun goes down. In addition, output from California’s wind farms was erratic. Currently, about 33 percent of California’s electricity comes from renewable sources as mandated by state law. Until this summer, California utilities and grid operators were able to purchase extra electricity from other states, but the current heat wave stretches from Texas to Oregon so there was little to none available to make up for California’s power shortage.”
“Completely ignored in the reporting is that California has been shutting down a huge source of safe, reliable, always-on, non-carbon dioxide–emitting, climate-friendly electricity—that is, nuclear power. In 2013, state regulators forced the closing of the San Onofre nuclear power plant that supplied electricity to 1.4 million households. By 2025, California regulators plan to close down the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant that can supply electricity to 3 million households.
The problem of climate change, along with the blackouts resulting from the inherent vagaries of wind and solar power, are an indication that California should not only keep its nuclear power plants running but also build many more of them.”