“Solar-charged batteries” can help solve California’s energy shortage, with energy storage already playing a small but active role in mitigating the struggle to meet peak energy demand, according to the leadership of two trade associations based in the US state.
“Some headlines and quotes from experts erroneously lay blame for the blackouts on solar energy,” Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar & Storage Association told Energy-Storage.news.
Instead, Del Chiaro said, solar energy did “exactly what solar energy can be relied upon to do: generate tons of electricity on hot sunny days to meet California’s growing need for energy. If not for all the solar power on the grid, the weekend’s outages would have been far longer and more widespread.”
“Moving beyond blame, what is needed is MORE solar energy combined with solar-charged batteries, not more fossil fuel power plants, to cover evening peak loads! The state is not doing enough on this front. That’s the problem.”
It has been widely reported that California has experienced problems meeting demand for electricity over the past few days, with grid operator CAISO issuing a proclamation of a State of Emergency on 14 August 2020.
The state was experiencing an Extreme Heat Event (defined as “widespread temperatures well in excess of 100 degrees throughout the state”), and CAISO said “significant demand and strain” had been put on California’s grid, while limiting energy imports from surrounding states.
Many had been quick to either politicise the event against the Governor Gavin Newsom or blame the growth in solar energy versus the retirement of fossil fuel plants. CAISO chief Steve Berberich said however in a press briefing on Monday that “renewables are really not a factor,” and that it was “simply a matter of raw capacity,” according to San Francisco Chronicle reporter J.D. Morris, who was on the call.