Smart Cities

Virtual Power Plants Can “Relegate California Blackouts to the History Books”

“As I look out my window I can see [wildfire] smoke right now and I was warned about power outages last week,” said Ryan Hledik, principal at research consultancy Brattle Group, during a phone interview from his California home in mid-August. The state’s grid operators went on to order rolling blackouts for the first time in 20-years as a heatwave swept across the region. California ISO called the events a “perfect storm,” caused by the heatwave and a corresponding spike in demand, simultaneous loss of some sources of power, and inability to import out-of-state electricity. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman, Neil Chatterjee, blamed the blackouts on California’s move away from fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy resources, like solar and wind, for an increasing level of its power generation. Later, a 121-page preliminary report by the California Independent Systems Operator (CAISO), Public Utilities Commission, and Energy Commission, stated that the number one reason […]

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