Californian Blackout Fury: “It’s Not Just the Heat, It’s Also the Anti-Nuclear Power Stupidity”

California’s self-inflicted renewable energy debacle has attracted global attention. Policymakers have led with their chins by promoting chaotically intermittent wind and solar, all the while trashing ever-reliable nuclear power – with perfectly predictable results.

With the (not-so) Golden State scrambling for power during a sweltering summer the decision to shutter nuclear plants looks positively criminal.

Ronald Bailey prosecutes the case against the lunatics in charge of California’s crippling power crisis.

Californian Blackout Fury: “It’s Not Just the Heat, It’s Also the Anti-Nuclear Power Stupidity”
Ronald Bailey
19 August 2020

Activists oppose a huge source of reliable, climate-friendly electricity that could have prevented the rolling blackouts in the Golden State.

Rolling electric power blackouts afflicted as many as 2 million California residents last week as a heat wave gripped the Golden State. (It’s apparently eased up for now.)

At the center of the problem is that power demand peaks as overheated people turn up their air conditioning in the late afternoon just as solar power supplies cut off as the sun goes down.

In addition, output from California’s wind farms was erratic. Currently, about 33 percent of California’s electricity comes from renewable sources as mandated by state law. Until this summer, California utilities and grid operators were able to purchase extra electricity from other states, but the current heat wave stretches from Texas to Oregon so there was little to none available to make up for California’s power shortage.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, California electricity grid operators had warned in September 2019 that power shortages might become increasingly common when heat waves hit over the coming years. The current situation was thankfully not worse since California still has some natural gas power plants in operation that can be ramped up to supply energy when renewable supplies fail.

“Some folks in the environmental community want to shut down all the gas plants. That would be a disaster,” said Jan Smutny-Jones, CEO of the Independent Energy Producers Association, a trade association representing solar, wind, geothemal, and gas power plants, to the Mercury News. “Last night [Sunday] 60 percent of the power in the ISO [Independent System Operator] was being produced by those gas plants. They are your insurance policy to get through heat waves.”

Reuters reported that California’s grid operators estimated that peak electricity consumption earlier this week might exceed available supply statewide by as much as 4,400 megawatts—roughly equivalent to the amount needed to power 3.3 million homes.

In a particularly obtuse report on NPR’s Morning Edition today, Union of Concerned Scientists energy analyst Mark Specht asserted, “the solution is definitely not more natural gas plants. Really if anything this is an indication that California should speed up its investments in clean energy and energy storage.”

NPR reporter Lauren Sommer followed up by observing, “After all, he [Specht] said climate change is making heat waves worse, so burning more fossil fuels to deal with that is somewhat counterproductive.”

Completely ignored in the reporting is that California has been shutting down a huge source of safe, reliable, always-on, non-carbon dioxide–emitting, climate-friendly electricity—that is, nuclear power.

In 2013, state regulators forced the closing of the San Onofre nuclear power plant that supplied electricity to 1.4 million households. By 2025, California regulators plan to close down the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant that can supply electricity to 3 million households.

The problem of climate change, along with the blackouts resulting from the inherent vagaries of wind and solar power, are an indication that California should not only keep its nuclear power plants running but also build many more of them.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Peter Pronczak says:

    A welcome development from yesterday’s NuScale post, but why should it take 9-10 years?
    The first original conventional plant at Lucas Heights, although small, only took 3 years.
    I’m not in the industry but I don’t see any point of using less water if located near the coast, where salt water is abundant; construction materials negate any corrosion problem. Unless it means salt water is heavy and therefore more physically buoyant. Modular I understand having physically designed the industrial microwave oven as such in the 1980s.

    Update: Today 17th Sept Maryborough, QLD ALP MP Bruce Saunders reported as “confident the project would proceed” re 226 turbine Forestwind project that he would have been involved in in the 3 years of secret ‘negotiations’ of how to achieve it (possibly including the ALP mayor). With more online media supporters displaying gorilla profile pictures – intimidation?.
    Now a new 5 year contracted fire bomber aircraft has been regionally located – with assured no risk of turbine associated forest fires.

    As part of the federal government fire management plan including satellite watching for sparks, it could incorporate a geological early warning system; geological instability having been used as an argument against nuclear energy. Even though the PM has flagged use of the likes of expensive Snowy Hydro 2 and as SOAG says gas.

    But this still comes back to the fed LNP saying nuclear would not be ‘forced on a community’ but the state and fed supposed opposition doing it with renewables.

    Were Elon Musk serious about ‘saving the planet’ along with the rest of the list of taxpayer feeders then NuScale would have all the finance necessary.
    As said by Colin Megson a build time of only 2+ years.
    It’s the other factors of ‘wanting to save the planet’ from generally unmentioned sea-level (estimated 70mtrs by 2100; 3cm/yr) rise that are the problem.

  2. Son of a goat says:

    The Renewable Energy Messiah in desperation attempts to channel the old man, but instead gets Willy Shakespeare!

    In the wee hours of this morning the Messiah, disillusioned that his green Utopia was seemingly on the ropes, attempted to channel his late father for advice. However greater forces were at play and he crossed paths with none other that the bard, Willy Shakespeare.
    This proved fortuitous however as the Bard assisted the Messiah in writing a piece for today’s’ left wing nut job rag, The Guardian, the scope of which was well beyond the dim-witted Messiah.

    The dramatic piece was full of derision at Angus Taylor and Scott Morrison’s announcement of a gas led recovery for the Australian Economy. The literary masterpiece left readers breathless with his final comment “The men running the show have so much ambition for themselves, and yet so little for our country”.

    Messiah, I have availed myself of the opportunity to pen how I think your late father may have responded to your search for wisdom!

    Dear son,
    I find it infuriating that, having provided you with an opulent lifestyle and upbringing, that you snub your nose at the very capitalism that facilitated it.
    Maybe it was a mistake sending you to Geelong Grammar, it may have been more prudent to send you to a trade school, where at least you may have got your hands dirty, and associated with common folk.
    As you would be aware, no woman would have greater love of the environment than your dear mother, but even she can see through the bullshit you peddle daily.

    Pull your head in son, and stop being a twat!

    Regards, Dad.

    P.S. on the bright side, there is a room up here for people like yourself, I believe Tammy and Jimmy Baker are on the door.

    • Pure Gold SOAG. Reading that just made my day. The Team At Ruineconomy must be beside themselves.Keep up the good work. Your country needs more informed articulate wordsmiths.

  3. Go woke – Go Broke!

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