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State energy policy comes home to roost  

Credit:  Letters to the Editor | The Mercury News | August 21, 2020 | www.mercurynews.com ~~

Rolling blackouts took place when the sun went down along with 10 gigawatts of solar power (“Power outages in state loom,” Aug. 18). Our electrical system can’t go negative. It requires instant backup for lost power or the grid will become unstable and risk collapse. The only sources that can supply instant backup are existing fossil fuel plants already running for that purpose. Battery-powered backup is a distant hope of limited scope.

California didn’t have sufficient fossil fuel backup to cover the loss of solar power. Immediate power from outside the state was unavailable. California was on its own.

Simply defined, it is California policy to subsidize the growth of solar and wind power and reduce (eventually shut down) fossil fuel production to force the transition. The state’s success at closing down fossil fuel power sources has come home to roost. Much like cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

Donald Eagling
Retired scientist, Lawerence Berkeley Laboratory

Source:  Letters to the Editor | The Mercury News | August 21, 2020 | www.mercurynews.com

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