Californians facing massive power crisis

Californians facing massive power crisis

A large number of California households and businesses are facing an unprecedented electricity crisis this summer, partly because of Porter Ranch gas leak and partly due to inefficiency of solar power plants.

California authorities recently warned that Southern California could face up to 14 days of blackouts during the scorching days this summer due to loss of natural gas caused by the massive leak in the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility.

The facility in the hills above Porter Ranch supplies gas for nearly one and half dozen power plants in the Los Angeles Basin. But the months-long gas leak left the facility at one-fifth of its capacity.

California is known for its great investments in solar energy, but existing solar energy plants are not capable of make for the loss of natural gas due to the leak. Moreover, sun energy is quite unpredictable.

Nancy Traweek, who directs system operations for the grid at California Independent System Operator, said, “All of a sudden you have a major cloud that comes over a solar field. That [power] needs to come from somewhere else immediately.”

Thus, grid operators have to keep the natural gas-based power generation plants running in the background. If they are turned off, it take up to eight hours start them up again.