California Environmentalism, Part II

Wow, looks worrisome, according to this article from New Geography.

An excerpt.

Can the California grid handle the charging challenges for the EVs the state is promoting to be on the grid? The knee-jerk reaction to going green as fast as possible has the potential to crash California’s already fragile economy. No one’s even talking about the load it’s going to put on the current grid. The silence is deafening.

The Electric Load-Serving Entities (LSEs) in California that includes Investor Owned Utilities inclusive of such major entities as Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and a multitude of Public Owned Utilities are mum on the subject.

The Golden State already has more than 50% of all registered EV’s in the United States on its highways and is moving to increase that number by millions in the coming years. Utility companies, that need to maintain the electrical grids’ capability to charge the batteries without crashing from overload, and the subsequent PUC increased rate changes to the pocketbooks of blue-collar workers, fret in their boardrooms about the impending foreseeable disaster on the horizon yet they present their “no-worries” face to the public.

The California State Assembly and Senate passed legislation that was signed by former Governor Jerry Brown requiring 100% of its electricity to be generated from renewables by the year 2045. Thus, no electricity generated from Nuclear or Natural Gas in California by 2045. Damn the torpedoes, they say. Full speed ahead!

Natural gas-fired power plants accounted for most of California’s in-state net electricity generation in 2018. However, to meet the 100% clean energy requirement by 2045, the base loading of natural gas and nuclear for electric generation will be gradually supplanted by increased renewable energy.

Recently the San Bernardino County’s Board of Supervisors slammed the brakes on big solar projects and highlighted a challenge California could face as it seeks to eliminate the use of fossil fuels. San Bernardino locals soundly voiced their objections to those land devouring, eco system disrupting, unsightly monstrosities that lead to higher electricity prices and lower property values for nearby residents, saying not-in-my-back-yard! So, with no places to locate the renewables farms, what’s next?

In the most likely event there will not be enough land permitted to build those huge intermittent electricity farms, and with continuously uninterruptable electricity generation now supplied by nuclear and natural gas disappearing from the grid, electricity will be required to be imported from other states to make up the deficiencies of limited in-state generation, obviously at a premium price for the blue collar workers.

The goal to have 100% intermittent electricity by 2045 has already driven up the cost of electricity to residents and businesses to be well above the national average. The scary trends for funds and oil are both fueling (no pun intended) the growth of the poverty, homeless, and welfare populations in California.

In California alone, intermittent electricity from low power density renewables is expensive to consumers. It has already contributed to California household users paying more than 50% more, and industrial users are paying more than 100% more than the national average for electricity.

Seems that few, especially the utility companies, have voiced an opinion about how the costs projections to supply the massive amount of electricity to charge 25 or 30 million vehicles in California would impact the blue-collar workers from obvious higher rates authorized by the PUC. It’s not just the total amount of electricity, but also transmission and fast-charging capacity that will need to be built at our current filling stations.

A Canadian engineer has walked through the math of the change to EVs, and concludes that to match the energy equivalent of a typical gasoline filling station today to service the 2,000 cars that those gas pumps could service in a busy 12-hour period, an electric filling station would require 600 of the 50kW chargers for a roadside station. Even that conservative estimate would require a $24-million investment at one station just for the cheapest chargers.

For those chargers, they would need about 30 megawatts of power from the grid. For those thinking that seems like an incredible amount of electricity, you’re right. Thirty megawatts is enough to power roughly 20,000 homes. In other words, powering these service stations of the future will require about the same amount of electricity as a city of 75,000 residents. Oh, and by the way, all that electricity, unlike off-hour home recharging, happens during peak-usage daylight hours. I see brownouts and blackouts in California’s future. Carry a bag lunch. This could get ugly.

In addition to the huge investments at the electric service stations, utility companies will have to spend gazillions of dollars building a new grid or billions to upgrade the grid to prevent it from crashing, which will further drive up the cost of electricity for everyone just so a few elites can drive Teslas and the like.

Retrieved April 17, 2019 from

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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