Sunday, September 11, 2022

Californians Survive the Heatwave --- Barely

I was beginning to wonder when it was going to cool down. Phew, that was one hella heatwave. And Californians dodged a bullet, it turns out.

This article's from last week.

At the Los Angeles Times, "California averts widespread rolling blackouts as energy demands ease amid heat wave":

For nearly three hours Tuesday night, California officials warned of imminent rolling blackouts as the state’s electrical grid struggled to keep up with surging demand during a punishing heat wave.

The Golden State avoided widespread outages, though three Northern California cities experienced brief losses of power.

At 8 p.m., the California Independent System Operator downgraded its level 3 alert, the final step before calling for rolling blackouts, saying that “consumer conservation played a big part in protecting electric grid reliability.”

There were “no load sheds for the night,” the grid operator said; however, Alameda, Palo Alto and Healdsburg officials said they implemented short “rotating outages.”

In Alameda, municipal utility officials said at 6:20 p.m. that rotating outages were beginning. Power would be shut off to two circuits for one hour, according to Alameda Municipal Power.

Just before 7:30 p.m., utility officials in the Bay Area city said the second hour of power interruptions had been called off.

“No more rotating outages for tonight,” the utility said in a tweet. “Crews are working to get power restored to all customers shut off in the initial hour of outages.”

City officials in Healdsburg confirmed outages around 6:30 p.m.

“As directed by CAISO, rolling power outages to begin,” according to a Facebook post by the Sonoma County city.

Outages lasting about an hour per zone would cycle through each block until the energy shortage is over, the city officials said.

“Due to lower system loads, the need for rotating outages has ended,” city officials said at 8:10 p.m.

Palo Alto officials said around 7 p.m. that they had been cleared to restore power to about 1,700 customers after outages to meet Cal ISO’s “load-shedding requirements.” “We did not order rotating outages,” Anne Gonzales, an ISO spokesperson, said in an email to The Times on Tuesday night. “We held at [Energy Emergency Alert] 3 with no load shed, and [the alert] ended at 8 p.m.”

Gonzales did not respond to several requests for clarification by phone.

Shortly after 7 p.m., Cal ISO noted that peak grid demand had hit 52,061 megawatts, “a new all-time record.”

The alert did not affect Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers, as the utility operates its own grid and is separate from Cal ISO.

“We’re not suspecting any blackouts due to energy shortages and are not a part of any rolling blackouts [Cal ISO] has planned,” said Mia Rose Wong, a spokesperson for the municipal utility.

The DWP forecast Tuesday’s demand to be elevated but not enough to surpass available electrical generation and reserve capacity, Wong said.

Nevertheless, the utility advised its customers to conserve power and follow the state grid regulator’s guidance, including setting thermostats to at least 78 degrees and not using large appliances.

In addition to urging its customers to reduce energy use, the DWP makes excess power available to Cal ISO when available, Wong said, though it was not clear whether there was any excess power Tuesday night.

The heat wave is now expected to last through Friday, but the worst of it could be over for the southern half of the state — even as temperatures remain dangerously high.

For much of Northern California, the heat was expected to peak Tuesday, but temperatures are predicted to remain well above average through the week, according to the National Weather Service.

By late Tuesday afternoon, the weather service confirmed that downtown Sacramento had set an all-time temperature record. A preliminary high of 115 degrees broke the previous record of 114 set on July 17, 1925, meteorologists said. About an hour later, officials reported that the temperature had topped out at 116.

The state capital has seen a barrage of extremes over the last year, Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA and California climate fellow at the Nature Conservancy, said in a tweet Tuesday evening.

“First its longest dry spell on record, which ended with wettest day on record, followed by driest start to a calendar year on record, now followed by its hottest day on record,” Swain wrote.

In Hanford, the weather service office stated that as of 3 p.m., “all major weather reporting airports in the San Joaquin Valley have set daily record temperatures.”

Four cities in the Bay Area broke maximum temperature records tallied on any day of the year, according to the weather service.

San Jose’s temperature of 109 Tuesday beat the previous all-time high of 108, set Sept. 1, 2017.

Santa Rosa’s high of 115 broke the high of 113 set in 1913; Napa’s 114 broke the record of 113 set in 1961; and King City in Monterey County hit 116, breaking the record of 115 set in 2017.

Redwood City in San Mateo County hit 110, tying the record set in 1972...