Energy Secretary Granholm touts California's green grid as Gov. Newsom scrambles to stop blackouts

California relies heavily on fossil fuels to stay afloat amid rolling blackouts.

Published: June 8, 2023 3:04pm

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm is visiting California to “highlight” it as the Biden administration's beacon of green energy success, even though Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom may soon be purchasing energy due to a short supply.

In an announcement, DOE revealed Granholm is touring the Golden State Thursday and Friday as the White House furthers its “commitment” to phasing out fossil fuels. The agency praised California for being a leading state in the push for net-zero emissions.

But in positioning California as a model for a green energy future, DOE does not mention the state’s constant efforts to keep its energy grid from collapsing.

As of late, California has faced rolling blackouts and come close to more on several occasions, specifically during summer when air conditioner use is high. 

Last year’s heat wave was especially notable: Residents of California were urged by the grid operators to set their thermostats to 78 degrees, stop using large electronics, turn off house lights and stop charging electric cars.

Days prior to the advisory, California banned the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035. 

Newsom has apparently been scrambling behind the scenes to keep California’s grid up-and-running. His most recent idea to prevent more rolling blackouts is to purchase enough clean energy by paying private companies to build their own renewable power plants.

California currently has until 2045 to create 148,000 megawatts of new clean power in order to achieve its aggressive climate goal of having "100% clean electricity" by then.

Just last month, Newsom bragged that the state’s power grid is “halfway” to operating exclusively on clean energy.

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