8/19/2020 – Record Heat, Threat of Power Outages and Lightning Caused Wildfires – The past 72 hours have been among the toughest Governor Newsom has faced since taking office. As record heat gripped the West, power consumption soared and the penetration of renewable intermittent power highlighted the vulnerabilities of the California grid. According to the CAISO, monsoonal cover resulted in a loss of solar and wind generation, resulting in the State counting on natural gas generation and conservation efforts to help keep the lights on.
While coming very close to outages over the last 24 hours, California has managed to keep its lights on, only to yield to over 10,000 lightning strikes and over 360 fires as a result. As of this posting, CalFire is reporting 34 major fires burning across the State, 26 in Northern California and 8 in Southern California.
The grid will be tested again the remainder of the week – but now by wildfires potentially impacting transmission lines. The good news: CAISO says no power outages tonight. The bad news: CalFire and local fire agencies have ordered evacuations in several counties, as large wildfires burn tonight with virtually no containments (Current Major Fires with no containment: SCU Lightning Fire – Multiple locations throughout Santa Clara County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, San Joaquin County, and Stanislaus County – over 85,000 acres. LNU Lightning Complex Fire, Napa and Solano Counties, over 46,000 acres.)