It has been lovely to see the spring sun emerge after a winter of historic rain and snow. As news stories shift from breathless weather forecasts about abundant rain to what-ifs about potential spring snowmelt flooding, you could be excused for easily forgetting about the potential for extreme heat this upcoming summer.
But it was just seven months ago , in the midst of a climate change-fueled western heat wave that threatened to cause rolling blackouts, that Governor Newsom sent out an emergency text message to every smart phone carrying person in the state imploring them to save energy. By all accounts – including that of my then 15-year-old son who ran around the house shutting off everything he could find – those who took action to conserve helped prevent grid failure.
Clean Power Alliance has not forgotten. As soon as the temperatures cooled down, our planning efforts for the summer of 2023 and beyond heated up. And now we are urging everyone – our customers, local government partners, state regulators, and the California legislature – to join us in these preparations. Even as we are building new clean energy production facilities as fast as we can, electricity supply will still be tight for the next few years when the thermometer pops, and we’ll need everyone to pitch in.
On our end, we’ve been active in the electricity markets trying to line up additional out-of-state resources as possible – in-state resources are contracted for already – and launching new programs, reaching out to customers with high savings potential on bills, and updating our customer communication strategies to deal with the potential of “message-fatigue” if heat waves are prolonged.
Here’s how you can participate:
- Through our Power Response program, CPA customers now have multiple ways they can get paid to save energy and contribute to grid stability this summer, including automatically adjusting thermostats or simply reducing energy usage in response to a text alert. Enroll in the program that is right for you at cleanpoweralliance.org/powerresponse.
- Our local government partners are both large energy users and have a large communications footprint. Preparing an energy saving power-down plan for non-critical functions during heat events and communicating with constituents to conserve contributes significantly to our region’s ability to react quickly to energy emergencies.
- California is a net importer of energy from other western states – as much as 30% of our electricity comes from elsewhere during days of high demand. But over the past several years, even as more of our fossil fuel plants have been shut down, state regulators have made it more difficult to secure reliable imports. In the short-term, they need to loosen up the import market while keeping their eyes on approving a number of new transmission lines from resource rich locations to population centers.
- The Legislature should pass AB 1538, a bill authored by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi and sponsored by CPA that would provide incentives for energy providers to bring on more clean resources faster than state mandates. These additional resources would both contribute to reliability and slow the rise in electricity rates by increasing the supply of resources in the market.
Everyone has a role to play in responding to the changes in our climate and in avoiding the next crisis. We ask for you to join CPA in using this spring to get prepared for summer.