A Cure for California Blackouts: Nuclear Power
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
As wildfires and yet another heatwave roil and boil California, the state’s electricity users are being warned they face rolling blackouts:
The state grid operator called for rolling blackouts last month for the first time since 2001 as a heatwave swept California and other parts of the West. The state’s largest utilities cut power on two consecutive nights to several hundred thousand customers.
Rolling blackouts, which gradually move through targeted cities and towns when power supplies get tight, are distinct from safety-related shutoffs designed to reduce fire risk.
Lurking behind the blackouts is a larger problem entirely of California’s own making: its move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable sources, which have physical limitations:
Solar-energy production begins to decline in the early evening hours, when power usage peaks, reducing the capacity available during a supply crunch.
As Reason’s Ronald Bailey notes, the shortages could easily have been avoided if California had also embraced – rather than intentionally shut down – one of the greener power alternatives in existence today: nuclear power. Bailey writes:
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.