Rolling Blackouts Linked To PGE Failure At Methane Power Plant; Redondo Beach Sues Over Coastal Air Pollution

Written by on September 15, 2020

The rolling blackouts that hit California last summer may may not have been caused by a shortage of clean power after all.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the state suddenly ran short of electricity on a sweltering evening … because of a mistake by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

P G and E mistakenly turned off a natural has powered generating station in the San Joaquin Valley  .

The company says it the wrong message to a large natural gas-powered plant.

That little PG&E took as much as 255 megawatts of power offline just as demand was reaching its highest point.

The energy supply emergency resulted in rolling blackouts for nearly a half million customer accounts … none of them in Malibu.

But of local importance … it came just as the city was switching the default preference for electric customers in Malibu to 100 percent clean energy. 

It turns out … the shortage was not from renewable sources …. but from an error at a big gas-fueled generating station.

California was unable that day to bring in electricity from other states.

While regulators insist solar and wind energy itself was not the problem, they have said the state may need to rethink its rules about energy supplies and reserves.

In a related issue … Redondo Beach intends to sue the state over a recent decision to extend the life of four methane-powered electric plants along the Southern California coast. 

Southern California Edison owns the energy coming out of those 60 year old plants … which are extremely dirty by modern standards and kill millions fo marine creatures by boiling them alive.

The Torrance Daily Breeze newspaper reports that Redondo Beach wants the smog belching power plant in King Harbor turned off as planned …

They argue that the state failed to do an environmental study on the effects of keeping the four plants online longer.

The owner of the plant … a Virginia company … has an exclusive deal with SCE to sell the power.

They say the water board made the right decision … citing the recent blackouts.

Blackouts that were caused by the blunders at P G and E in the San Joaquin Valley.  Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand told the Daily Breeze newspaper that the electrical grid shouldn’t need the coastal natural power plants to supplement the state’s needs.

“Both planning and management of the grid have failed,” Brand told the Daily Breeze in a text message.

Foes of the power plant in Redondo Beach showed up in force during a water board meeting held over video conference Sept. 1. Some presented photos of black smoke billowing from plant stacks, noting their health concerns considering the site, they said, is surrounded by the most densely populated neighborhoods on the state’s coast.

“This means more marine life will be killed,” a city statement said, and more “harmful air pollution emitted into the densely populated South Bay communities of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and other surrounding cities.”

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