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Southern California Prepares for Electricity Blackouts


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News brief by Max Havins
April 16, 2012

 

LOS ANGELES — There is new concern about potential rolling blackouts in Southern California this summer, and with it an increased need for home energy efficiency and solar power.

San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange counties face the possibility that electricity demand during a heat wave will exceed available supply on the grid.

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) went offline in January and remains out of service while officials investigate “unexpected wear” that led to a small radioactive steam leak. The situation at SONGS prompted a visit from Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko, U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein, and U.S. Representative Darrell Issa earlier this month.

SONGS is a major player in terms of energy supply, capable of producing enough electricity to power 1.4 million homes. Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric (who co-own the facility, along with the City of Riverside) are looking for ways to deal with that potential void this summer. Those plans will likely involve reviving two retired natural gas power plants in Huntington Beach, as well as reducing stress on the grid with renewable resources and energy conservation.

With some 8,500 solar projects installed throughout San Diego and Los Angeles, the sun may help meet peak energy needs. GreentechMedia featured an article recently describing the opportunities and challenges in leveraging the region’s solar strengths to meet demand this summer.

Energy efficiency and demand response measures will also play a critical role, should SONGS remain offline this summer. Both Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric are looking to expand existing energy conservation programs to reduce electricity demands this summer.

Check back for more from Sierra Club Green Home on what consumers in Southern California can do to help keep the lights on this summer.

For related article, see:
A Sustainable Home in Ten Steps


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