News & media

California’s energy grid is in crisis. Can the state keep the lights on?

BY Julie Cart; CALMATTERS / Sacramento Bee | January 16, 2019

Gretchen Bakke thinks a lot about power — the kind that sizzles through a complex grid of electrical stations, poles, lines and transformers, keeping the lights on for tens of millions of Californians who mostly take it for granted.

They shouldn’t, says Bakke, who grew up in a rural California town regularly darkened by outages. A cultural anthropologist who studies the consequences of institutional failures, she says it’s unclear whether the state’s aging electricity network and its managers can handle what’s about to hit it.

California is casting off fossil fuels to become something that doesn’t yet exist: a fully electrified state of 40 million people. Policies are in place requiring a rush of energy from renewable sources such as the sun and wind and calling for millions of electric cars that will need charging — changes that will tax a system already fragile, unstable and increasingly vulnerable to outside forces. (read complete article)


September 14, 2015 The Good News on Renewables | Gabriel Kahn, WSJ - (pdf)

September 8, 2015 Drought is killing California’s hydroelectric power. Can solar make up the difference? | Steve Scauzillo, SGVT - (pdf)

September 7, 2015 Renewable energy bill far from perfect, experts say | Sammy Roth, The Desert Sun - (pdf)

September 3, 2015 Brown appoints Bruce Wilcox to lead Salton Sea policy - (pdf)

August 17, 2015 Four Powerhouse Bills to Help California get to 50 Percent Renewable Energy | Lauren Navarro , EDF - (article)

August 8, 2015 Alexander Sherriffs and William B. Marcus: Clean-energy economy for the Valley - (pdf)

August 4, 2015 California is ahead of the game as Obama releases Clean Power Plan | LA Times - (article)

August 3, 2015 What We Can Learn from Germany’s Windy, Sunny Electric Grid | Andrew Campbell / Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley - (pdf)

August 2, 2015 Obama to Unveil Tougher Environmental Plan With His Legacy in Mind | Coral Davenport & Gardiner Harris / NY Times - (pdf)

August 1, 2015 Creating Western regional energy market could help state meet climate goals | Carl Zichella, Sacramento Bee - (article)

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