Can California’s Power Grid Handle Another Hot Summer?

May 2021


Severin Borenstein, Faculty Director at the Energy Institute at Haas, talks with KCRA about California’s infamous rolling blackouts that occurred last Summer. As Summer 2021 is approaching, questions arise on whether or not California can handle the strain.

“‘One of the problems that we have to confront in doing the modeling for the future is that the past might not be a very good guide to the future,’ said Severin Borenstein, an expert in energy policy and climate change at UC Berkeley. ‘So when those intermittent renewables go up and down as they do, the wind blows. Sometimes it doesn’t blow. At other times, the sun sets, we have to have the alternative generation capacity that can fill in.’…’That’s a bigger challenge because California imports about a quarter of its power,’ said Borenstein. ‘And during our extreme heatwaves we have historically been really dependent on bringing power in. And last August there was a lot less than we would have hoped for.'”