By Paul Homewood

California, a state that has been aggressively weaning its power grid off of fossil fuels, is now working on adding several natural gas-fired plants in an effort to keep the lights on this summer.

The California Department of Water Resources is in the process of procuring five temporary gas-fuelled generators that have individual capacities of 30 megawatts, said spokesman Ryan Endean. The units will be installed at existing power plants and are expected to be operating by the middle of September.

The move comes after California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for the power grid on concern about supply shortages during hot summer evenings when solar production wanes. The order, issued last month, aimed to free up energy supplies and speed up power plant development to help avert blackouts. It also temporarily lifted air-quality rules.

Earlier this year, California regulators balked at ordering utilities to add new gas-fired generation after environmental groups said it would run counter to the state’s decarbonization goals. Officials have been scrambling to shore up power resources ever since brief blackouts hit in August 2020 during an extreme heat wave.

California already imports nearly a third of its power from other states:,Source%3A%20U.S.%20Energy%20Information%20Administration%2C%20State%20Electricity%20Profiles

And renewable energy (excl biomass) only supplies 8% of its energy, compared to 73% from fossil fuels.

Heaven help the Californians when they abandon fossil fuels completely.


August 25, 2021