A summer of blackouts?
Last updated 7/1/2022 at 8:04am
Supervisor Jim Desmond
On May 20, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation warned that two-thirds of the U.S. could experience blackouts this summer. Earlier in the month, California energy officials warned that summer blackouts may continue for the next three summers. There’s already finger pointing occurring from government agencies and many theories being publicized including climate change, severe drought, quick switch to renewable energies, lack of infrastructure, rise in the demand of electricity, the list goes on and on.
The reality is, we are looking at a summer where the basic necessities we need may be endangered. Rather than blame, I want to work on solutions.
At our next board meeting, I’m proposing action to enhance resiliency to energy emergencies throughout San Diego County. We should not accept that our lights will not be on, or that our food may spoil. If San Diego County experiences days without power, that will cause severe harm to our older population and those who need electricity, including air conditioning.
Part of the action I’m taking is to explore options aimed at enhancing resiliency to energy emergencies throughout the unincorporated areas of the county, this will include options to expand San Diego Gas & Electric’s “Generator Assistance Program” to help residents of our unincorporated communities more easily acquire a back-up power generator. Also, I want to look at establishing a county program, separate from SDG&E’s, that would offer rebates or other incentives for personal/commercial back-up generators purchased by county residents and local businesses.
Another part of my board letter will include researching the need and opportunity for microgrids within the unincorporated communities of the county.
I will admit, many of the grid problems that San Diego County now faces are from policies in Sacramento. I believe we made the transition too quickly to renewable energies as we need to focus on providing electricity right now, while also looking towards the future. But we are in this reality, and we need to be looking at all the ways to keep the lights on.