For the first time ever, California has activated four emergency gas generators to help the state's struggling power grid supply residents with power.
With temperatures in the state reaching as high as 117 degrees, the demand for electricity has grown exponentially -- placing a tremendous strain on the grid, says Elliot Mainzer, CEO of the California Independent System Operator.
"We have now entered the most intense phase of this heatwave," Mainzer says, noting that the grid is facing "energy deficits" of 2,000 to 4,000 megawatts... "The potential for rotating outages has increased significantly."
The natural gas generators, that were activated this week, are now providing up to 120 megawatts of power -- enough to provide electricity to 120,000 homes, according to the Department of Water Resources.
“DWR has been planning for this moment for months and we’re proud of our role in safeguarding the statewide energy grid. We are doing everything possible to help keep the lights on and the air conditioning running so millions of Californians can stay safe and healthy during this extreme heat event,” said Karla Nemeth, Director of the Department of Water Resources.
Still, state officials are counting on residents to turn up their thermostats to prevent rolling outages...
"We need a reduction in energy use that is two or three times greater than what we've seen so far as this historic heat wave continues to intensify," Mainzer says.