California has the most solar power in the US, sometimes providing as much as 40 percent of the state’s electric needs. But its main electric grid operator, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) said that the solar eclipse on Aug. 21 won’t impact the electric grid.
“I am confident in the technology of our market and grid, and in the expertise and abilities of our staff to manage the operational challenges associated with the eclipse,” said ISO President and CEO Steve Berberich. “As we welcome increasing amounts of renewable energy onto the grid, we are learning much about emerging shifts in operations that will define the electric system of tomorrow. Our team is committed to keeping the power flowing for Californians, as we navigate the unusual circumstances presented by the eclipse.”
The ISO now has nearly 10 gigawatts of solar power online serving California customers. The ISO said it will likely need to dispatch about 6 gigawatts electric generation from alternative sources from 9 am to noon during the eclipse. That’s about enough electricity to power about 6 million homes, it said.
The ISO said that it and other players, including the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and utilities have been preparing for the eclipse and the loss of energy the state will see during it for more than a year. The state will rely on other sources like hydropower and natural gas plants that can ramp up to meet demand quickly and flexibly.
“The eclipse presents some grid management challenges for California and the West, however, with detailed planning and engagement among all parties we are expecting no shortage of electricity or reliability incidents related to the eclipse,” said Nancy Traweek, ISO’s executive director of system operations. “Market participants are aware this is a rare and significant solar event, and they have worked closely with us to develop plans.”
The ISO also will use lessons learned to deal with future eclipses, like the next North American solar eclipse, which will occur in 2024. In addition, CPUC created caleclipse.org, to help people learn more about the eclipse and energy conservation during it.Tweet