Just a short few days ago, government officials from California revealed a plan to try and phase out new gas-powered vehicles. Now, however, the same officials are calling on residents to not charge their electric cars so as to not overwhelm the state’s power grid.
Currently, the western United States is dealing with a likely “prolonged and record heat wave” that could end up reporting temperatures as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit, as reported by the National Weather Service. Due to this, the California Independent System Operator is trying to bring all possible resources online to deal with the incoming higher electricity demand and is hedging its bets on the issuing of “voluntary energy conservation” notices over the Labor Day weekend.
“The top three conservation actions are to set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoid using large appliances and charging electric vehicles, and turn off unnecessary lights,” as stated by the American Public Power Association. While under a “Flex Alert,” people will be encouraged to cut back on their energy consumption from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm — which has been labeled as the hours in which “demand for electricity remains high and there is less solar energy available.”
As seen last year, California was forced to deal with rolling rounds of blackouts over the Labor Day weekend. The state put out these Flex Alerts due to the power grid operators predicting “an increase in electricity demand, primarily from air conditioning use” in relation to the expected extreme temperatures.
These warnings of lowered grid capacity take place just a scant few days in the wake of the California Air Resources Board putting out new rules that will require roughly 35% of all new vehicles built to produce zero emissions by as soon as 2026 — a standard what is slated to go up even more to a level of about 68% by 2030 and to a total 100% by as soon as 2035. Despite everything going on, many experts have warned that the electric grid for the state will need extensive upgrades in order to be able to handle this extremely rapid swap from gas-powered engines over to fully electric vehicles.
“Today, most people charge their electric cars when they come home in the evening — when electricity demand is typically at its peak,” explained the researchers from the College of Engineering at Cornell University. “If left unmanaged, the power demanded from many electric vehicles charging simultaneously in the evening will amplify existing peak loads, potentially outstripping the grid’s current capacity to meet demand.”
The governments of Washington, Massachusetts, and Virginia have all made motions to pass laws attempting to get in line with the extreme standard put in place by the California Air Resources Board. When it comes to Virginia, however, many state officials have now started to denounce the state’s new laws, which were officially greenlit last year when the state’s General Assembly was Democrat-controlled, and are searching for routes to repeal them.
“In an effort to turn Virginia into California, liberal politicians who previously ran our government sold Virginia out by subjecting Virginia drivers to California vehicle laws,” stated Governor Glenn Youngkin (R-VA). “Now, under that pact, Virginians will be forced to adopt the California law that prohibits the sale of gas and diesel-fueled vehicles. I am already at work to prevent this ridiculous edict from being forced on Virginians. California’s out of touch laws have no place in our Commonwealth.”