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California urges power conservation in heat wave, prices soar

CommoditiesJul 28, 2021 03:21PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The morning sun rises over a neighborhood as a heatwave continues during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Encinitas, California, U.S., August 19, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

(Reuters) -U.S. power prices soared on Wednesday as homes and businesses cranked up air conditioners to escape another heat wave, prompting the California grid operator to urge conservation.

The United States has been beset by extreme weather events this year, including February's freeze in Texas that knocked out power to millions and record heat in the Pacific Northwest this summer.

High temperatures were expected to reach 102 Fahrenheit (39 Celsius) on Friday in Portland, Oregon, where the normal high is 80 F at this time of year, according to AccuWeather.

Meteorologists also forecast hotter-than-normal weather in Central California, which is used to temperatures over 100 F.

The California ISO, grid operator for most of the state, issued a flex alert urging consumers to conserve electricity on Wednesday evening to reduce strain on the grid and avoid outages when solar power stops working as the sun goes.

Last August, a heat wave forced California utilities to impose rotating blackouts that left over 400,000 customers without power when supplies ran short.

Next-day power prices for Thursday soared to $489 per megawatt hour at the Mid Columbia hub in Washington, its highest since hitting a record $891 in March 2019. In 2020, the hub averaged $25.

The California ISO forecast power demand would peak at 41,185 megawatts (MW) on Wednesday and 41,858 MW on Thursday. That is below July 9th's peak for the year of 43,193 MW and the all-time high of 50,270 MW in July 2006.

One megawatt can power about 200 homes in the summer.

The ISO has said it expects to have about 50,734 MW of supply available this summer, but some of that is solar, which is not available when the sun sets.

The ISO had 14,628 MW of solar capacity in June that produced a record 13,205 MW in May.

California urges power conservation in heat wave, prices soar
 

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Comments (8)
William Smith
William Smith Jul 29, 2021 12:07AM ET
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California was a great place and had plenty of electricity until the leftists took control.
Steven Kemp
Steven Kemp Jul 28, 2021 7:54PM ET
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gkad my son and his best freind got out of that God forsajen place
Brandon cook
Brandon cook Jul 28, 2021 6:54PM ET
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all they need to do is crank up the price of electricity, more money for the state
Henrik Lindberg
Henrik Jul 28, 2021 5:42PM ET
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Just build more nuclear power plants. Case closed.
Rick Baier
Rick Baier Jul 28, 2021 3:56PM ET
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Battery storage should of invested years ago
Michael Becker
Becker908 Jul 28, 2021 3:32PM ET
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Hey California!  Nice solar panels and windmills you've got there, ******birds like crazy and wrecking your electrical grid.  Please, roast in the dark.
Light Bringer
Light Bringer Jul 28, 2021 3:32PM ET
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nice! very neighborly, i hope you rot in your state as well.
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Jul 28, 2021 3:32PM ET
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Becker is an absolute joy at Thanksgiving too.
William Smith
William Smith Jul 28, 2021 3:32PM ET
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Facts hurt greenies.
Michael Becker
Becker908 Jul 28, 2021 3:32PM ET
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Light Bringer  The only problem my has is with Californians escaping the carnage and bringing their politics with them.  Personally, I'd rather have a wall on the Eastern border of California than the Southern border of the US.
Michael Becker
Becker908 Jul 28, 2021 3:32PM ET
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Benjamin McIntire  Thanksgiving Bennie?  California is just beginning to get the result they've been voting for for the last couple of decades.  I have absolutely zero sympathy or empathy for Californians.  I'll happily raise a glass of rare single malt when LA and SF look like Caracas or Havana because that's where they are heading.
Frank Taylor
Frank Taylor Jul 28, 2021 1:40PM ET
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OhNOoo..... the sun went down
Parekh Kar
Parekh Kar Jul 28, 2021 10:36AM ET
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thats what solar is aboutone big event is waiting to be happeningplus all those junk after 15-20 years, it ll be very diff to take care of
 
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