Sep 7 2022

CA Energy Emergency Alerts Likely Until Battery Technology Advances

Emergency Alerts Began on Sunday, September 4 This Week

On Wednesday, September 7, The California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) stage 2, effective from 4 to 9pm.

On Tuesday, September 6, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) stage 2 for 4 to 9pm.  As grid conditions worsened, energy supplies were determined to be insufficient to cover demand and reserves, and an EEA stage 3 was declared at 5:17 pm, indicating controlled power outages were imminent.

Planned outages are implemented when all the other emergency tools on hand for  the ISO, utilities and state agencies have been used and supplies are still insufficient to  cover demand.

If needed, ISO could order utilities to begin rotating power outages to maintain stability  of the electric grid. If that occurs, consumers should expect communications – either  phone, text or email – from their utilities notifying them of outage areas and likely  durations.

Rotating power outages, or small-scale, contained, controlled interruptions in power,  can help maintain reliability and avoid cascading blackouts. When the ISO determines  that supplies are not sufficient to meet demand, it can issue an EEA 3, and then if  reserves are exhausted, it would order utilities to begin outages to bring demand back in line with available supplies.   ISO announcement here

Battery Technology Advances Are Needed to Restore Reliable Electric Energy

Massive Battery Capacity is Necessary to Allow Dependence on Solar and Wind Farms and Power a Huge Increase in the Number of Electric Cars

At present batteries require toxic or rare materials including nickel, lithium and cobalt.  Replacing fossil fuels with toxics may not be entirely defensible.  Doug Powell, Solid Power head, reminds us “Batteries are no different than all other science fields – nothing is free.”  Longer driving range requires longer charge time,  but charge time affects cycle life.

Various new developments in battery technology are hyped, only to be discarded a few years later.  A case in point  was lithium-sulfur batteries, which generated excitement in 2010.  Unfortunately, their claimed energy density required huge amounts of electrolytes.

Until battery technology catches up with the multiple needs, Piedmonters and all Californians will have to restrain their use of electricity, especially as sunset approaches, shutting down the stream of solar energy.


Extreme heat across California over the past week has placed unprecedented stress on the state’s electric grid.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO), the organization that manages the grid, has issued “Flex Alerts” daily over the past week asking all Californians to conserve energy between 4:00 and 9:00 pm. This voluntary reduction in energy use has helped avoid rotating power outages, which the ISO would impose if demand exceeds available energy in the state.

During a heat wave, everyone can help prevent rotating power outages by taking simple steps to conserve energy:

  • Set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher. Close drapes and blinds to keep rooms cool.
  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
  • Use energy-intensive appliances like washing machines and dishwashers early in the morning or after 10pm at night.

Sign up for Flex Alert notifications from California ISO to get notified directly when energy conservation is needed.

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