California in the middle of a heat wave | News, Sports, Jobs

LOS ANGELES — California faces its greatest risk of outages this year as a brutal heatwave continues to blanket the state with triple-digit temperatures. State energy officials said electric load Tuesday afternoon could top 51,000 megawatts, the highest demand the state has ever seen.

As people turn on their air conditioners, the state is forecasting record levels of power consumption, said Elliot Mainzer, president of California Independent System Operators, which operates the state’s power grid. The state currently has additional energy capacity “but blackouts, rolling and rotating breakdowns are a possibility”, Mainzer said, calling for additional conservation “absolutely essential.”

The CAISO site on Tuesday morning showed that California could miss more than 5,000 megawatts of its power supply at peak demand, forecast for 5:30 p.m.

The danger of forest fires was extreme as the scorching heat and low humidity turned brushwood into tinder. Four deaths were reported over Labor Day weekend as some 4,400 firefighters battled 14 large blazes in the state, with 45 new blazes on Sunday alone, said Anale Burlew, deputy chief of the California department. forestry and fire protection.

In southern California, two people were killed and one injured in the Fairview Fire, which started Monday near the town of Hemet, the Riverside County Fire Department said. About 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles, the fire quickly spread to at least 2,400 acres, prompting evacuations, and was only 5% contained. Several residential structures burned down.

The deceased were not immediately identified. Authorities said the two were found in the same area, but it was unclear whether they belonged to the same household. They were apparently trying to flee when they were defeated.

California’s energy grid runs on a mix of mostly solar and natural gas during the day, as well as some electricity imports from other states. But solar power begins to drop in the late afternoon and evening, which is the hottest time of day in some parts of the state. And some of the aging natural gas plants that California relies on for backup power aren’t as reliable in hot weather.

At CAISO’s request on Monday, four temporary standby generators deployed by the Department of Water Resources in Roseville and Yuba City were activated for the first time since their installation last year, providing up to 120 megawatts, or enough electricity for 120,000 homes.

CAISO also launched a Flex Alert appeal for voluntary conservation between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday, making seven alerts in as many days. Consumers were urged to keep air conditioners at 78 degrees or higher during the period and to avoid using major appliances such as ovens and dishwashers.

Efforts worked to keep the lights on “but we have now entered the most intense phase of this heat wave” it could last up to a week, and two to three times the level of conservation will be needed from individuals and businesses, Mainzer said.

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