Preparing for Summer 2022
Heatwaves in summer 2020 and 2021 resulted in calls for emergency energy conservation that we have not seen in decades. California’s grid operator, regulators, and the energy industry have been working on solutions to prevent power emergencies. Even with added resources, we continue to be vulnerable to the expanding impacts of climate change, including extreme heat, drought, and wildfires. For instance, we are currently seeing a significant decrease in hydroelectric supply due to three years of drought conditions.
Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) is working to fight climate change locally by advancing innovative solutions that offer an affordable, equitable, and reliable transition to a clean grid. As the state makes progress toward its carbon-free energy goals, we all have a role to play in helping prevent outages by being good stewards of our grid, especially as we face new challenges from our changing climate.
The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) released the 2022 Summer Loads and Resources Assessment to assess the expected supply and demand that the California grid will experience this summer.
Added Energy Capacity
CAISO identifies new resources and battery storage as one of the factors improving grid reliability this summer compared to 2021. The addition of grid-scale batteries allows energy produced during low-cost, high-producing times of day to be stored and dispatched during peak evening hours, reducing the strain on the grid when demand is high.
What is SVCE Doing to Help With Energy Reliability?
Silicon Valley Clean Energy is taking additional measures to ensure sufficient energy supplies that support the California grid:
- Procuring adequate supply to meet our demands.
- Investing $1.8 billion in renewable energy projects to come online over the next several years. This includes solar paired with battery storage. Two of these new projects came online at the beginning of this year and are contributing to the newly added capacity.
- Contracting for geothermal power, which offers 24/7 baseload renewable energy supply.
- Contracting for long-duration energy storage which can dispatch energy during peak evening hours, for up to eight hours; these projects are in development.
What is the Difference Between A Flex Alert, Energy Emergency Alert and PSPS Event?
As we head into summer, we would like customers to be aware of the different levels of potential power events. Here is a breakdown of the kinds of events that may be called if we are impacted by extreme heat or dangerous fire conditions:
|Flex Alert||CAISO||Voluntary call for conservation from 4 – 9 p.m., generally occurs during extreme heat when demand for air conditioning is high.|
|Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) 1, 2 or 3||CAISO||EEA 1 – Strong need for conservation.
EEA 2 – CAISO unable to meet expected demand, orders power plants online.
EEA 3 – Unable to meet energy requirements and power outages are imminent or in progress.
|Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS)||PG&E||PG&E will proactively shut off power in response to certain weather conditions in high fire-threat areas.|
|Enhanced Powerline Safety Settings (EPSS)||PG&E||PG&E advanced safety settings automatically turns off powerlines if a hazard occurs.|
How Can I Prepare for Summer Energy Emergencies?
Customers are encouraged to sign up to receive Flex Alert notifications directly from CAISO, sign up at FlexAlert.org, or download the ISO Today app.
If a Flex Alert is called, please be aware of what you can do to conserve energy during the alert time. Shift energy use habits including electric vehicle charging, thermostat settings and appliance use to before or after the alert time. Learn more about how you can conserve during a Flex Alert at FlexAlert.org.
How Can I Prepare for Power Outages?
Make sure your information is up to date with PG&E so that you can be notified of a PSPS event. More information about PG&E PSPS events and resources such as Community Resource Centers offered during outages may be found here.
SVCE has resources for customers interested in adding resilience to their homes or buildings with solar-plus-battery storage. With the Solar+Battery Assistant, receive support every step of the way as you evaluate your options with this no-obligation, online concierge service; and get $1,000 off an electrical panel upgrade, if necessary.
What If I Rely on Electricity to Power Medical Devices?
As mentioned above, it is important to make sure your contact information is up to date with PG&E so you can be notified of any potential shutoffs. Also, make a plan with friends and family, or others that you may rely on to assist you.
You may also sign up to receive assistance from the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center. More information may be found at: https://svilc.org/emergency-services/.