Natural gas-fired power plants are generating the bulk of California's electricity amid an ongoing energy crisis despite the state's aggressive push to phase out fossil fuels.
California has leaned heavily on natural gas this week even as the state continues to invest in and push renewable power sources like solar. The California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the state's grid operator, has issued several "flex alerts" to consumers in recent days, warning that high temperatures will lead to increased demand and likely cause rotating outages.
"This is a man-made energy failure and the blame lies squarely with President Biden, Gov. Newsom and every other proponent of this green failure," Daniel Turner, the founder and executive director of energy group Power The Future, said Wednesday. "California is the poster child of the green movement and the state’s struggling families are paying the price."
"Make no mistake, the lights will stay on in the governor’s mansion, Silicon Valley and Hollywood, but not in working-class neighborhoods because those who pushed this failure always unplug from the consequences," he continued.
"California’s power failures are nothing less than pure insanity that should be shunned, instead President Biden wants to export them to every state."
On Monday, about 47% of California's electricity was generated by natural gas while 19% was produced by imports. Just 21% of electricity generated was produced by renewables, including solar and wind power.
On Tuesday, more than half of the state's electricity was provided by natural gas. Imports and renewables each generated another 18-19% of the power produced.
The trend continued Wednesday with natural gas power far outpacing other power sources.
Meanwhile, CAISO issued a level three emergency alert Tuesday, saying the next step to stabilize the grid would be to trigger controlled power outages. The grid operator also extended its ongoing flex alert for Wednesday, the eighth consecutive day with such an alert.
"If needed, ISO could order utilities to begin rotating power outages to maintain stability of the electric grid," CAISO said in a press release Tuesday.
"Rotating power outages, or small-scale, contained, controlled interruptions in power, can help maintain reliability and avoid cascading blackouts," the release added. "When the ISO determines that supplies are not sufficient to meet demand, it can issue an EEA 3, and then if reserves are exhausted, it would order utilities to begin outages to bring demand back in line with available supplies."
The last time California utility providers were forced to implement outages came in August 2020, the first time outages were ordered in two decades, according to CAISO. The 2020 outages impacted 800,000 homes and businesses.