Unseasonably warm weather led to a spike in energy usage during the eighth week of California’s stay-at-home order. While the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) noted load reductions of roughly 5% during the shelter-in-place order, the first full week of May saw a shift in power usage. According to CAISO figures, the weekday power demand was up 2% to 3% percent compared to the same time last year.
To handle the increase in power demand, natural gas and imports are covering the rise in power. Natural gas was up more than 600 megawatt hours (MWh), and imports are up by more than 2,500 MWh. Meanwhile, renewables were down for the same period by nearly 800 MWh, and large hydropower is down by 1,800 MWh.
During the shelter-in-place, natural gas and imports (the types of power that can be scheduled) are especially crucial during unpredictable times.