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California’s Green Energy Dreams turn into its Power Outage Nightmare

California’s Green Energy Dreams turn into its Power Outage Nightmare

In Calizuela, Californians are discovering the dark truth about solar powered homes and electric cars.

As California firefighters continue to battle the Saddleridge fire in the Los Angeles area, it is being reported that the blaze may have started from a Southern California Edison transmission tower that is located behind a home in Sylmar.

Meanwhile, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is conducting a PR battle for continuing its program of fire-prevention power shutdowns.

PG&E faced hostility and second-guessing over the shut-offs, which prompted runs on supplies like coolers and generators and forced institutions to shut down.

Ryan Fisher, a partner in consumer goods and retail practice at global consultancy A.T. Kearney estimated $100 million in $200 million in fresh food was likely lost because of the outages along with $30 million a day in consumer spending.

PG&E cast the blackouts as a matter of public safety to prevent the kind of blazes that have killed scores of people over the past couple of years, destroyed thousands of homes, and ran up tens of billions of dollars in claims that drove the company into bankruptcy.

The utility suggested it was already seeing the wisdom of its decision borne out as gusts topping 77 mph (122 kph) raked some hilltops where wildfire risk was extremely high.

Meanwhile, despite years of being promised a green energy utopia by its politicians, Californians who followed the eco-promises are waking up to a power outage nightmare.

For example, homes that have solar panels are as dark as those who didn’t install such systems.

That’s because most panels are designed to supply power to the grid — not directly to houses. During the heat of the day, solar systems can crank out more juice than a home can handle. Conversely, they don’t produce power at all at night. So systems are tied into the grid, and the vast majority aren’t working this week as PG&E Corp. cuts power to much of Northern California to prevent wildfires.

The only way for most solar panels to work during a blackout is pairing them with batteries. That market is just starting to take off. Sunrun Inc., the largest U.S. rooftop solar company, said some of its customers are making it through the blackouts with batteries, but it’s a tiny group — countable in the hundreds.

The power-outages, planned and otherwise, are now demonstrating the biggest flaw in electric cars: The contingency systems designed to allow cars to charge during blackouts hasn’t been developed yet.

Tesla is sending a warning to its Northern California customers: Charge up your vehicle now. If you don’t, it’s hard to say when you’ll next have a chance. That’s because Pacific Gas and Electric, the electrical utility for most of Northern and Central California, plans to shut off electrical service to almost a million people as a public safety measure to prevent starting wildfires.

…[I]f you drive a Telsa (or a Volt or a Leaf), you need electricity to charge your battery. Most of you probably do that at home or at one of Tesla’s Supercharger stations spread across the country. But in parts of California, you won’t be doing either during the shutoff.

To be fair, Tesla says that it plans to eventually have all of its Supercharger stations equipped with batteries that will allow them to continue to provide charging capacity during blackouts. But according to Elon Musk this morning on Twitter, the company is still waiting on the go-ahead to install them across the effected areas in California.

And while Californians are struggling with blackouts and wildfires, the usual suspects are using #ClimateCrisis to stoke more green energy inanity.

PG&E had to spend $42 billion following green energy mandates instead of equipment repairs, system maintenance, and upgrade on technology that didn’t spark conflagrations.

Welcome to Calizuela!


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Escaped from RI | October 12, 2019 at 4:05 pm

So, how’s the Green New Deal beta testing going?

So …. any chance of the fires heading to Malibu? I’m hopeful ….

Where else in the world do they prevent fires by cutting people’s electric service off?

    The high tension power lines passing through fire zones can arc.

    PG&E admits its equipment may have sparked several fires this year:

      Yeah, but that doesn’t really answer my question.
      It’s a big, big, world out there full of high tension power lines. I don’t see news of these “fire prevention blackouts” anywhere else. I know California is “odd”, but come on!

        johnnycab23513 in reply to Exiliado. | October 12, 2019 at 6:13 pm

        They have to do this because the despicable tree huggers get laws passed that forbid both good conservation practices and fire safety. The infrastructure was designed by the same people that run Puerto Ricos system!

        Where else in the world do electric utilities face virtually unlimited liability for conducting an inherently dangerous business that benefits the public? Where else is the risk of doing that business heightened by onerous environmental regulations that prevent them from conducing their business as safely as possible?

          Going to answer several questions I hope. ID as a Calif xpat. First many of the fires in Calif were set either by “accident” or by fire bugs in addition to PG&E and So Cal Edison et al old out of date facilities. Over several decades The PUC has granted nearly all the electric companies rate increases specifically (that is what the public was told) to upgrade their facilities particularly in remote areas to prevent fires being caused by downed lines. It appears that since the companies are bemoaning the old facilities that can not with stand the high winds, they did not spend the monies acquired by increasing rates wisely or as intended. One should also note that the outages are in predominately Conservative areas and the areas So Cal Edison has threatened to turn off power in (San Bernardino & Riverside Counties) are mostly Conservative, note that San Diego county has not been threatened even though they experience high winds too. The Los Angeles also experiences the Santa Anna winds as much as any other area (liberal area) yet they are not being threatened with power outage even as wild fires are burning. It just seems odd.
          As for those with solar power, as far as I know part of getting a permit for solar was that it fed the grid first. So in an outage unless you had a special non permitted installation or stand alone non permanent solar that could be switched off the grid you are out of luck in a power outage. Where I live now you can install solar or wind that is either not attached to the grid or serves you first and only excess goes to the grid. Not so in Ca as of when I left.

      And if they had been able to put that 42 billion into repairs instead of green energy initiatives?

      Stop falling for Fake News. Power linescan not possibly start fires on their own.

      The fires were caused by incompetent CA officials who don’t know how to manage forests. They blamed PG&E for their own incompetence. The company had no choice but to accept the blame if it wants to continue doing business in CA.

    Sanddog in reply to Exiliado. | October 12, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    My town is surrounded on three sides by a national forest and we’ve never had that happen. We also have a lot of controlled burns and wood cutting permits.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to Sanddog. | October 13, 2019 at 8:32 am

      And clearing with controlled burns is the key to fixing this problem. One way or another dead stuff will be burned, the choice is between small controlled fires or large uncontrolled fires.

        THere’s a reason the other 49 states don’t have first that burn entire towns to the ground, killing many, even in forested areas. ONCE in a while there will be a bad forest fire sparked by lightning somewhere that burns a few houses; but in California it’s every year, and they do nothing but cry about their bad luck.

    cucha in reply to Exiliado. | October 13, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Nowhere. PG&E simply refuses to be made the scapegoat by incompetent CA officials again like they were in 2018.

    InEssence in reply to Exiliado. | October 13, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    I’m not able to answer your question, but I’m guessing that Oregon is probably going to be next.

    BTW, the standard safety zone is 10 feet between trees and power lines. All of this nonsense is over a minor trim.

Fire is a way of life in California: it’s a crucial part o the ecosystem. Building in fire zones is a disaster, like building in a hurricane zone, or building in a tornado alley.

Unlike hurricanes or tornadoes, fires can be mitigated (by allowing them to burn, periodically, so no ‘super firestorms’ can develop and by not building in fire areas (or building concrete buildings in such areas).

But leftist morons run california, too busy looting the state’s treasury than to be bothered with things like fire and water projects. (Not a single water project has been built in CA in decades.)

Bottom line, re california: it is a Cloward-Piven laboratory, and it’s running head-long into ruin – on purpose.

    …it’s running head-long into ruin – on purpose.

    Which would be fine-and-dandy by me, except they’re gonna come with their hand out looking for a federal “bail out” which will spread the carnage nation-wide.

    RandomCrank in reply to | October 13, 2019 at 11:20 am

    I live in the Columbia River Gorge. Within the past five or six years, there have been some dry years, with two big forest fires that burned a total of about 100,000 acres.

    Both of them occurred on public forest land. The area where I live is full of private forests too, and there is ongoing logging. To my knowledge, none of those forests have burned during the dry years.

    The difference: The private operators regard the trees as a crop, and maintain their fields by thinning the underbrush. The public forests are treated as free, and go unmaintained, largely because “environmentalists” have blocked any thinning.

“Sea level rise”? (You know, that thing that isn’t actually happening.) “Environmental justice”? It sounds like somebody’s not all that interested in fire prevention, but is much more enthusiastic about the silly stuff.

Speaking of silly . . . “gives every American access to clean, cheap, and reliable energy from renewables.” The “cheap” part is particularly hysterical. And “clean” is pretty comical, too.

NPR just finished airing a five-part series called California Burning.

I listened to 2.5 of the episodes and was so disgusted by the blatant leftist-activism-agitprop that I simply never finished the series. The best part was when native Americans recounted 20,000 years of indigenous-peoples forest management. Well, they need to talk to leftist environmentalists at the USFS, not lecture “European” people en-bloc

    alaskabob in reply to Tiki. | October 12, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    New England Indians (before New England) practiced burnings to clear brush and improve vegetation that fostered more deer and other edible animals. Clear cuts in forests are go to areas for deer hunting. “Old Growth” forests are dead. Green Religion is not green but is surely a cult.

      My2centshere in reply to alaskabob. | October 12, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      Mark Levine says all the time the new greenies are nothing but the old reds.

      On a number of occasions Lewis and Clark saw prairie fires set by Indians as a means to signal others for meetings and rally points. Lewis and Clark mention setting prairie fires to signal various Indian tribes signal.


      ” {…} the Indian to Otos’ camp to invite the Indians to meet us on the river above. …. Set the prairies on fire to bring the Mahas and Sioux if they were near”

        Tiki in reply to Tiki. | October 12, 2019 at 6:20 pm

        I can’t find the original journal entry. The following is a summary:

        Saturday, July 20, brought more Shoshoni signs but no Indians. Early in the morning Lewis saw smoke up Potts’ Creek. Unsure of the smoke’s significance, the explorer thought it was either accidental or a deliberate Indian signal. According to his journal entry for the day, he learned later that some Shoshonis had seen either his or Clark’s men, feared they were Blackfeet warriors, and fled from the river.

Leslie, I would like to borrow that term “Calizuela”…..

Colonel Travis | October 12, 2019 at 4:50 pm


California is the ideal of every commie running on the democrat party plank.

Let’s all say a prayer to Saint Andreas!

The capital, Sacramento, has its own power supplier, SMUD. No blackout for the politicians.

But the people will keep voting the idiots in

    PODKen in reply to gonzotx. | October 12, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    If only idiots are on the ticket … and you’re gonna vote … your only choice is to vote for an idiot. To vote for someone different … you have to be presented someone different.

“Think of the alternative to these power outages and intense wildfires if America tackles climate change…We can build a smart, safe, and modern electrical grid that gives every American access to clean, cheap, and reliable energy from renewables”

Showing a complete lack of understanding about how the electric system works. Unless the wind turbine is in your back yard, the power from it STILL is delivered through the transmission lines being shut down.

And, as noted elsewhere, most current rooftop PV systems are of the ‘grid-tie’ configuration, providing exactly no power if the grid is down.

    CaptScientist in reply to CommonSense. | October 13, 2019 at 9:53 am

    This is what I find so frigging funny, people with solar panels thought they were immune to blackouts…..Oops. Now Calizuela will have some thing they can tax and dispense as they see/will….rechargeable batteries.

      artichoke in reply to CaptScientist. | October 13, 2019 at 9:22 pm

      They bought such an expensive system, had their house modified, signed a 20 year contract with their house on the line probably, and they still didn’t understand physically what they were getting.

      Them panel companies got some fine salesmen!

Eastwood Ravine | October 12, 2019 at 6:55 pm

What is happening in California is a feature rather than a bug what environmentalists want green energy to accomplish.

It is almost as if California creates many of its own problems. Two costly fires, one allegedly caused by an illegal alien, the other allegedly by a homeless encampment.

Solar can be useful but it’s not the answer. I have a home that’s 100% solar but I also have batteries to maintain for storage and a backup propane generator for winter storms when I might not be able to pull enough juice to get me through (that’s actually very rare at my house). People who are advocating for the switch to solar and wind to power America have never actually had to depend on it. If they did, they’d know better.

    The Packetman in reply to Sanddog. | October 13, 2019 at 8:43 am

    People who are advocating for the switch to solar and wind to power America have never actually had to depend on it. If they did, they’d know better.

    This. And there’s way too much math involved for most to figure that out.

    The amount of electricity is just a number to most people; it only starts to sink in when they see how big a solar system would be required to replace it.

      artichoke in reply to The Packetman. | October 13, 2019 at 9:23 pm

      Under better circumstances, the government would run “consumer protection” programs to help people figure this stuff out.

      But now the government is the source of the propaganda!

    RandomCrank in reply to Sanddog. | October 13, 2019 at 11:13 am

    When we built a house in eastern Washington two years ago, I looked into solar. It didn’t quite cost out, and that was with “net metering” that exchanges a kWh for a kWh, thereby giving the panel owner the use of the grid for no charge — a big subsidy.

    As I was considering panels, the utility announced that it would end net metering for new hookups. That obliterated the case for panels at our place. To really go off grid would have required either a) a hair-shirt lifestyle, or b) a laughably expensive array of batteries that would have been more expensive than our new house.

    The other issue with solar panels that’s rarely discussed is keeping them clean. Something that people forget from their elementary school science classes is that every raindrop forms around a particle of dust. This is why cars and other things get dirty in the rain.

    If you don’t clean off your panels after it rains, their production will suffer — sometimes substantially. And where we live, there’s plenty of snow: six feet this past February alone. People who mount solar panels on the roof of the house wind up lamenting that, as do people who put satellite dishes out of reach.

      artichoke in reply to RandomCrank. | October 13, 2019 at 9:25 pm

      and in a few years we’ll start seeing the panels of early adopters going way down in efficiency as they pass the 10 year mark.

      That’s something nobody talks about, but it’s in the physics of the device.

        RandomCrank in reply to artichoke. | October 15, 2019 at 1:55 pm

        When I was thinking of installing panels I researched a lot of issues, degradation being one of them. As an existing electric car user who’s well aware of the quasi-religious fervor, I looked very carefully for a reliable solar energy site, and found it.

        Anyway, generally speaking, panels should last for at least 25 years before degrading below 75% of original production capacity. A lot of warranties are 25 years, from companies that are well established and will probably still be around. At least that’s what I think I learned from my research.

        I have no doubt that there’ll be some horror stories, but I’ll be curious to see what the typical degradation rate winds up being. I think a bigger issue, depending on exactly where those customers are, will be maintenance.

        One thing you need to do with solar panels is pay a LOT of attention to keeping them clean. Every raindrop forms around a speck of airborne dust, and those panels get dirty in the rain and their production goes down. I suspect that there are a whole lot of panel users who a) don’t know that, or b) are really sick of getting up on a ladder and cleaning their roof after every rain storm.

        RandomCrank in reply to artichoke. | October 16, 2019 at 12:38 pm

        By the way, just for the hell of it, I went and found the spreadsheet I prepared when I was considering solar panels.

        One big question was whether I should incorporate inflation on the electricity value side, but counteract it by considering the time value of money on the capital investment side. I handled that by preparing one spreadsheet that incorporated 4% inflation of electricity value and another that didn’t.

        In the end, I decided to use the one that omitted inflation and the time value of money, figuring that they’d roughly offset each other. (I know, I know: Investments typically outpace inflation, but diving into that end of the pool would have been chasing a ridiculous level of precision.)

        Where I live, and when I was considering all this, electricity cost $20.32 a month connection charge + 9.49 cents/kWh. The calculator squirrels pegged the breakeven point (the price at which solar panels would become just as good a deal as utility-provided power) at $22,866 to $24,915 depending on my degradation assumption was.

        The middle of that range was $23,733. Solar panels for our place would have cost about $32,000 net of the 30% federal tax credit. The breakeven analysis depended on “net metering,” which I explained earlier. Without “net metering,” the breakeven point would have been about one-third of what I had calculated, which would have made panels even more of a vanity statement than it already would’ve been.

        It gets better.

        Later on, just for the hell of it, I decided to do a CO2 emissions analysis. You see, solar panels are manufactured (duh) and that process generates CO2. Four-fifths of them are made in East Asia and shipped here on diesel powered freighters, and then carried from ports to the homeowner by a series of diesel-powered vehicles.

        Where we live, 89% of utility power comes from dams on the Columbia River, the youngest of which is 61 years old, and more recently-build wind turbines. 8% from a nuke at Hanford, WA, and 3% from a coal-fired generator in Boardman, OR. Put it all together, and a kWh of juice generated by a solar panel is responsible for about two-thirds MORE carbon dioxide emissions than utility electricity. And that’s only if, on the dam side, I include the CO2 emitted when the concrete and steel in those structures were created.

        I was on an e-mail list run by the local solar weenies here. When I pointed all of this out, they actually killed the e-mail list and reconstituted it without me. “Progressives” don’t much like facts.

If Paris streets burned over a proposed 25 cents per gallon climate change tax, imagine the global conflagration over a $49 per gallon tax.

That’s what a United Nations special climate report calls for in 12 years, with a carbon tax of $5,500 per ton—equal to $49 per gallon of gasoline or diesel. That’s about 100 times today’s average state and federal motor fuels tax.

By 2100, the U.N. estimates that a carbon tax of $27,000 per ton is needed—$240 per gallon—to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Of course, that isn’t going to happen. The economic wreckage of such a punitive tax would plunge the global economy into a permanent depression—and that’s assuming politicians could enact such huge tax increases over the will of their voters.

(Uh huh, sure. What if they decide voters aren’t smart enough to return the proper politicians and cancel elections?)

    artichoke in reply to 4fun. | October 13, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    That’s the whole point. Equity. Bring the first-world down. That agenda has a voting majority in the UN General Assembly, where every shithole country gets the same one vote as the USA, Russia or China. Also it’s probably a Muslim voting majority there.

Do the Eco-wackos want to stop rolling blackouts and power outages? Then they can get off their lazy a$$es and clear all vegetation 50 yards on either side of a power line. They won’t work so they can enjoy their time in hell.

JackinSilverSpring | October 13, 2019 at 9:16 am

I don’t blame PG&E for cutting off power to the affected areas. PG&E had to get bankruptcy protecrion because of the last fire. One more case of being liable for another fire would shut down the company. All this is the effect of kowtowing to so-called environmentalists who have prevented forests from being cleared of brush and being thinned out. They should be very proud because California now has the dubious distinction of looking like North Korea from space at night.

I live in an area of rural WA State prone to wildfires. Built the house two years ago. We have a mid-size SUV; a one-ton crew cab long-bed pickup; and an electric car that I bought on a lark when the company was going out of business.

For starters, a 125-year-old barn on the acreage is surrounded by a 100-foot barrier of low grass and gravel. A storage barn is metal and wouldn’t burn. The house is at least 200 feet from anything combustible; it has a metal roof and screens on every intake vent. (An aside: When houses burn in forest or grass fires, it’s often because embers made their way in through chimneys and vents.)

We also have a 20 kW whole-house generator connected to two propane tanks that hold a total of 750 gallons. We’ve never used more than 260 gallons between fills. I was open-minded on materials, construction methods, and HVAC, including solar panels, but they didn’t cost out so we don’t have them.

The solar interconnection issue amuses me, but there’s no “dark truth” about electric cars. If the power goes out and you don’t have a generator, you’re out of luck, just as you’re out of luck if the gas station doesn’t get fuel deliveries.

    artichoke in reply to RandomCrank. | October 13, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    Sounds like a good setup, but why didn’t you go with gasoline generators. They’re cheap. and if that fuel isn’t available it truly is the end of the world. But you have to go fill your own gas cans.

    We have a cheap $800 Costco generator, about 8 kW, and it’s enough to run the whole house if we don’t use the electric dryer. We get frequent outages here because all the nature lovers want their trees near the power lines, and despite constant cutting by the power companies it still isn’t enough, and the governor (Cuomo) of course blames the utilities.

Yet another Leftard dream Up In Smoke.

If I am a conservative, does that mean I must be anti solar powered energy? And if I am a conservative combat vet and I’m all for solar energy, does that make me a lefty? Is Legal Insurrection against using solar energy?

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | October 14, 2019 at 1:23 pm

Good summation in a pic of the CA DEM-GREENS delusions.

“Coal powered electric cars… Helping liberals pretend they are solving a make-believe crisis.”

From Ace of Spades.

    I own an EV that I bought in the manufacturer’s bankruptcy sale, strictly out of curiosity. It’s a fun, cheap, short-range grocery getter, and I’ve used it as the focal point to study all aspects of electric vehicle vs. traditional ones, including how electricity is generated in the United States.

    I don’t think the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is valid; it has failed its predictions, and should have been discarded some years back. And my main vehicle, used for ~75% of my driving, is a one-ton diesel pickup truck. I like my little EV, but I’m one of the few EV drivers who will tell the truth — good, bad, and ugly — about them, and quite possibly the only one who displays a National Rifle Assn. Life Member decal on the back of his.

    ^ I note the above as credentials for my objectivity.

    It’s laughably and willfully stupid to characterize EVs as “coal powered,” when in fact coal is responsible for 27% of U.S. electricity generation, and dropping rapidly. Natural gas is now the top generation fuel, at 35% and rising. Nuclear is at 19% and stable as a share of the total.

    Wind is at 6-1/2% and rising; hydro is at 7% and stable; solar is at 1-1/2% and rising. Solar + wind caught up to hydro in late 2016, and now exceed it. I’m not in favor of wind and solar subsidies, but I’m even less favorable toward ideologue morons who wouldn’t know a fact if it slithered up and bit them on the backside.

    The “progressives” are generally the most anti-factual these days, but there are times when the fever swamps of Greater Wingnuttia puke forth utter horses*** like yours. Get a clue, and stop lying.

    Data source:

      “I note the above as credentials for my objectivity.”


      Wind and solar are “rising” because when it’s that low the smallest change makes the rise look good. They are not viable sources of energy now or in the near future. Catching up to hydro, well wow. Hydro remains a small factor. All sources are fine until you distort the market with subsidies, which is about the only reason solar and wind production occurs.

      Due to increase in efficiency of getting fossil fuels out of the ground, natural gas use is growing. Price determines this. Gas is cheap at the moment and will likely remain so.

      Your EV is 27% coal powered, that is a fact. It is 6.5% wind powered, close to the hot air quotient of your writing. And solar percent? Let’s not laugh to hard.

        RandomCrank in reply to Barry. | October 15, 2019 at 10:49 am


        1. The numbers are huge. It’s really hard to move the needle when total consumption of >4 quadrillion watt hours. Wind and solar have been steadily gaining for quite a while, and are starting to matter in the aggregate.

        This doesn’t mean I’m for or against either or both; I am only stating the facts. What’s really remarkable is how fast natural gas has risen at the expense of coal, given how big those numbers started. That is the big story of electricity generation — even bigger than the rise of wind and solar.

        2. The U.S. grid is highly decentralized. No particular source among the top five (gas, coal, nuke, renewable, hydro) can be dismissed. You can call hydro trivial if you want, but it’s not trivial in WA, OR or CA. We can go through that exercise for each of them.

        3. MY electric car, you say? I am utterly not righteous about it. I truly bought it because I’m a curious car nut who got a great deal at the time. I think the eco argument for EVs is laughable. That much said, facts are facts. MY electric car is powered 89% by the Bonneville Power Administration’s mix of hydro and wind, 8% by the nuke at Hanford, WA, and 3% by a coal plant in Boardman, Oregon.

        4. If they were ever dumb enough to make me emperor, subsidies to wind and solar would cease, along with subsidies for electric cars. Don’t paint me into that corner.

        FINALLY: You are an unfactual wingnut. Your kind is everywhere. Maybe you and Beto can talk about gun control sometime, and swap numbers.