(Reuters) – California’s power grid operator said it does not plan to ask consumers to save energy on Friday after declaring a power emergency on Thursday night as homes and businesses turned on their air conditioners to escape a lingering heat wave.
California’s Independent System Operator (ISO), which operates the grid serving more than 32 million consumers who account for about 80% of the state’s power load, has said it has enough resources available to meet demand.
On Thursday, the ISO declared an emergency alert for about an hour “due to hot conditions and higher-than-anticipated demand” around 7:30 p.m. local time, as the setting sun reduced the amount of available solar power.
California residents have worried about the effect of extreme weather on the power grid since a brutal heat wave in August 2020 forced the ISO to impose a couple of days of rotating blackouts on around 800,000 homes and businesses.
AccuWeather meteorologists forecast high temperatures in Los Angeles, California’s largest city, to reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.8 degrees Celsius) every day from July 21-25. That compares to a normal high of 82 F for this time of year.
The ISO said it was able to end the emergency on Thursday after securing additional resources. The ISO did not say where those resources came from, but its website said that imports from neighboring states increased around this time.
Demand predicted by ISO would increase from 42,266 megawatts (MW) on Thursday to 43,512 MW on Friday. That is well below the grid’s all-time high of 52,061 MW on September 6, 2022.
Rising demand in California pushed some next-day power and natural gas prices in the western US to their highest level in three months, including in the Mid Columbia Hub in the Pacific Northwest, where much of California’s electricity imports come from.
Gas is important in California as much of the power generated in the state comes from gas-fired plants.
In 2022, about 49% of the energy generated at ISO came from gas-fired plants, with most of the rest coming from solar (21%), nuclear (10%), wind (10%), and hydroelectric (9%).
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Barbara Lewis)