First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
When the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) issued an urgent call for immediate electricity conservation on Sept. 6 and California residents came through, optimist me assumed that the call was a sensible part of the energy authority’s plan to avert blackouts.
Instead, it was a Hail Mary pass that worked, confirming that going forward with such notices must be a routine part of our grid management. As the print Sept. 26 New York Times headline said: “Years of Blackout Threats Could Loom in California.”
Californians are not ignorant or selfish; indeed, most of us are well aware that occasional blackouts in the developed world are the very least of the pain being caused by the Earth’s climate catastrophe. Just one example — our fellow U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico are frequently without electricity still, due to Hurricane Maria’s damage to the grid in 2017.
All kinds of energy demand management and load-shifting programs need to be put in place, along with more overall energy conservation. For instance, why accept 78 degrees as the upper limit for setting air conditioners? Believe me when it is 102 degrees outside coming into your house with the thermostat set at 20 degrees lower, say from hanging up laundry (and given the energy burned by gas or electric clothes dryers and our optimal SoCal climate, why wouldn’t you?), your house will feel delightfully cool.
Glendale also must implement ASAP the Glendale Solar Solution (GEC.eco), which is key to making City Council’s Aug. 6 unanimous vote to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035 a reality. We can come back from the brink, and we must.