Clean energy group warns California car ban will tax the grid

One clean energy trade group in California is warning that California’s bold new goal of phasing out gas-powered cars within 15 years will drive up power demand from electric cars by 25 per cent — a potential problem for a state that has been struggling to keep the lights on.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the California Solar and Storage Association thinks it has the solution: solar and battery installations to shore up any power shortfalls that emerge from the onslaught of EVs, particularly rooftop solar arrays paired with home batteries.

“Such an increase in demand on the state’s already stressed electric grid adds urgency and importance to making the state’s energy supplies safer, more affordable, and more reliable,” the group’s executive director, Bernadette Del Chiaro, said in a press release.

With record-breaking heat triggering California’s first rolling blackouts in 20 years last month, the state is already grappling with an energy crisis that critics have been quick to pin on its lofty climate ambitions. Intermittent solar and wind power generation have surged on California’s grid, making it more difficult to forecast supplies in real-time.

Del Chiaro says that’s just all the more reason to “rethink” California’s entire approach to energy.

California Governor Gavin Newsom appears to be thinking along similar lines. During a state-organized climate change event Thursday, he told CNN pundit Van Jones that the way to prevent blackouts is to increase battery installations that can soak up excess solar power during the day.

“What we need to do is advance our technologies in battery storage so we can absorb the extremes,” Newsom said.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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