In California, the story is power

A Flex Your Power sign on a California freeway
Yep, it’s another “Flex Your Power” day, as the state power grid is again challenged by high temperatures (check Cal ISO status).

The real culprit? After the break.

The real culprit is the high cost of housing in California. According to this SF Chronicle story:

The power crunch is the result not just of the hot weather, but of an electricity demand that has soared 40 percent over the past five years, in part because of population grown in hot inland areas such as the Central Valley.

Yes, the people who live in places like Tracy and Fairfield and who are doomed to long commutes into the Bay Area are the same ones whose tract houses in sun-blasted inland valleys are drawing all the power.

4 Comments so far

  1. saneinsf (unregistered) on July 25th, 2006 @ 11:55 am

    I think that’s only part of the problem. The real problem is that the price of electricity for consumers doesn’t reflect supply or demand (which is how SCE and PG&E got in trouble during the Enron debacle). Consumers aren’t stupid — if the price of something is relatively flat regardless of consumption, they’re going to waste it.

    What we need is to have consumer (and business) electricity prices fluctuate with supply and demand — then consumers will get the signal they should conserve because electricity will become more expensive.

    That’s the only solution to our problem.

  2. anna (unregistered) on July 25th, 2006 @ 12:06 pm

    There was a new yorker article on how living in apt.s in dense urban areas actually saves energy and has a lower impact on the environment- I don’t have to turn on my heat, it radiates from my neighbor; I don’t have to drive, I walk to the stores, etc. So along with the hot suburbs, include with it the inefficiency of living 10 meters from your neighbors– if you abutted walls you could save a lot in heat.

  3. Mark (unregistered) on July 25th, 2006 @ 1:48 pm

    I was thinking of that article too, Anna, when I posted that business about the long commutes and the energy wastage. Wish I could find it online, but here is a related blog post pointing out that by living in high-density high-rises, New Yorkers comsume only one-third of the gasoline and one-half of the energy used by average Americans.

  4. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on July 26th, 2006 @ 7:29 am

    What’s really interesting is that CA hasn’t built another power plant since the 1970s, wouldn’t it make sense to add another power plant to handle the growth in electricity?

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