California Keeps Its Energy Cool in Summer Scorcher
With nuclear power down, California kept the lights on through the July heat wave with natural gas, renewable energy, and conservation. Can the formula work elsewhere?
Yet when temperatures rose over a weeklong period to record highs throughout the Golden State—well above 110⁰F (43.3⁰C) in some places before the wave lifted July 5—the lights stayed on and air conditioners kept humming.
How did California do it? It wasn't wizardry, but mundane moves to bolster supply and curb demand—a combination of natural gas, renewable energy, and conservation—that made California more resilient than some forecasters anticipated when the heat rolled in.
"The flexibility and the adaptability of California's system really shone through," said Daniel Kammen, founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. "It absorbed major hits and came out running beautifully."
It's an episode that may have relevance far beyond California's borders. As