July 21 (Reuters) – California’s power grid operator said it does not plan to ask consumers to conserve power on Friday after declaring an energy emergency late Thursday as homes and businesses cranked up their air conditioners to escape a lingering heat wave.
The California Independent System Operator (ISO), which operates the grid serving more than 32 million consumers representing about 80% of the state’s power load, has said it has enough resources available to meet demand.
On Thursday, the ISO declared an emergency alert for about an hour “due to heat conditions and higher than anticipated demand” at around 7:30 p.m. local time as the setting sun reduced the amount of solar power available.
California residents have worried about the effect of extreme weather on the power grid since a brutal heat wave in August 2020 forced the ISO to impose a couple of days of rotating blackouts on around 800,000 homes and businesses.
Meteorologists at AccuWeather forecast high temperatures in Los Angeles, the biggest city in California, would reach the low 90s Fahrenheit (32.8 Celsius) every day from July 21-25. That compares with a normal high of 82 F for this time of year.
The ISO said it was able to end Thursday’s emergency after securing additional resources. The ISO did not say where those resources came from but its website said imports from neighboring states increased around that time.
The ISO forecast demand would rise from 42,266 megawatts (MW) on Thursday to 43,512 MW on Friday. That is well below the grid’s all-time high of 52,061 MW on Sept. 6, 2022.
Soaring demand in California boosted some next-day power and natural gas , prices in the U.S. West to their highest in three months, including at the Mid Columbia Hub in the Pacific Northwest, where much of California’s electric imports come from.
Gas is important in California since much of the power generated in the state comes from gas-fired plants.
In 2022, about 49% of the power generated in the ISO came from gas-fired plants, with most of the rest coming from solar (21%), nuclear (10%), wind (10%) and hydro (9%).
Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Barbara Lewis