California Gov. Gavin Newsom: Time to ‘Sober Up’ About Green Energy’s Flaws

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the state had to “sober up” about the fact that renewable energy sources had failed to provide enough power for the state at peak demand, and needed “backup” and “insurance” from other sources.

Newsom addressed journalists and the public in the midst of ongoing electricity blackouts that began on Friday, as hundreds of thousands of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) customers in northern and central California lost power.

There is currently high demand for electricity across the state, as the entire West Coast has been hit by a heat wave and record-breaking temperatures.

One reason the state lacked power, officials admitted, was its over-reliance on “renewables” — i.e. wind and solar power.

There was not enough wind to keep turbines going, Newsom said, and cloud cover and nightfall restricted solar power.

“While we’ve had some peak gust winds,” he explained, “wind gust events across the state have been relatively mild.”

That was good for fighting fires, he said, but bad for the “renewable portfolio” in the state’s energy infrastructure. In addition, high demand for electricity in the evening hours, coupled with less input from solar plants, created strain.

On Friday, Newsom said, the state had fallen about 1,000 megawatts short; on Saturday, it fell 450 megawatts short. Sunday saw only “modest or minor” interruptions. But on Monday, he said, the state would be 4,400 megawatts short of “where we believe we need to be.”

“This next few days, we are anticipating being challenged,” Newsom said, as the heat wave was predicted to last through Wednesday.

“We failed to predict and plan these shortages,” Newsom admitted boldly, “and that’s simply unacceptable.” He said he took responsibility for the crisis, and for addressing it immediately, so that “we never come back into this position again.”

Newsom said the state would try to address shortfalls through conservation, and through procuring new sources of energy.......................................

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Blackouts Force Newsom to Admit Green Energy Falls Short

Blackouts in the failing state of Democrat-run California have forced Governor Gavin Newsom to admit green every is falling short.

“Newsom says the transition away from fossil fuels has left California with a gap in the reliability of its energy system. He says the state must examine its reliance on solar power and how that fits into its broader energy portfolio,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle’s Alexei Koseff.

“Today we are anticipating substantially greater need for energy,” Newsom said at a Monday press conference. Per Koseff, he added that this greater need is “about 4,400 megawatts short of what the state needs. That’s a ten times greater shortfall than Saturday. ”

“We failed to predict and plan these shortages and that’s simply unacceptable,” Newsom somehow said without bursting into flames.

Give me a break.

No one  “failed to predict” anything.

California has had decades to prepare for this. No one failed to predict it. They only failed to prepare for it.

The writing has been on the wall since 2001 when the state was hit with a series of massive blackouts and soaring electricity prices. The result was the successful recall of then-Democrat Governor Gray Davis in late 2003. He was replaced by the equally incompetent Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Over the weekend, the former-Golden State was hit with its second day of rolling blackouts. As my colleague Joel Pollak reported at the time, “the state’s power grid struggled to deal with a heat wave that caused a surge in consumer demand.”

The blackout hit 220,000 homes in the North Bay area.

While there’s nothing funny about people losing power during a heat wave, it is still hard not to laugh at a state that is so scientifically backwards. The luddites were thwarted by a lack of wind and clouds.

Yes, wind and clouds:

Officials blamed the “unexpected loss of a 470-megawatt power plant Saturday evening, as well as the loss of nearly 1,000 megawatts of wind power,” the San Jose Mercury News reported. In addition, cloud cover over the desert meant solar energy was in short supply.

What are we, savages?

What is this, the third world?

No one has to live like this in the 21st century.

All you need to do is build more power and nuclear plants and the problem is solved.

Yes, it really is that easy.

Oh, but California is closing down its nuclear power plants, and “the sudden shutdown of two conventional power plants” contributed to Friday and Saturday’s blackouts  — one was shut down for service (in August!), the other shut down unexpectedly.

And let’s not forget that in 2018 the Democrat-dominated state legislature passed a bill demanding the state have  “100% climate-friendly electricity by 2045.” This means no emissions.

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Comment by Art Brigades on August 24, 2020 at 11:17am

Well-written piece about the unintended consequences of ideological policymaking: if CO2 is the problem, nuclear has to be a big part of the solution, and the clean energy advocates largely ignore it.

Comment by Willem Post on August 18, 2020 at 3:34pm

Rolling Blackouts in California a Harbinger for New England


CAISO is the California Independent Systems Operator. Here’s their graph of renewables generation from the CAISO site:



Figure 1. Total generation by each type of renewables in California, August 14, 2020


The total of geothermal, biomass, biogas, small hydro, and wind is diddlysquat

Wind died around midday

Solar started to go to sleep around 6 pm in the evening.

Just about that time rolling blackouts started.


Here is a CAISO chart, showing the net demand,

Blue, traditionals + Green, renewables = Demand

Green is just a sliver at 7 pm, when peak demand occurs, and remains a sliver for until 8 am the next day, when solar starts to build up. See figure 2.


See figure 3 of the next day in URL.



Figure 2. Net demand for electricity in California, split out by the type of generation of the electricity


California Rolling Blackouts Were Predicted


California has had rolling blackouts 3 times in 4 days, and likely will have more. The main problem is California’s irrational shift from natural gas.


About 9,000 MW of gas turbine plants, enough to power 6.8 million homes, have been shut down over the past 5 years, as the state increasingly turned to unreliable renewables. That leaves fewer options, after the sun sets and solar production decreases in the later afternoon, and the wind is not blowing as well.


Normally, California imports sufficient electricity from neighboring states, when its in-state generation is insufficient. But the sprawling heat wave blanketing the US southwest is pushing all power plants to near 100% capacity throughout the region.


California energy systems engineers have been warning this would happen for some years, so there should be no surprise it actually does happen. Let us hope New England RE dreamers will not emulate California’s foolishness.


CAISO brags about how they “maintain reliability while maximizing clean energy sources”


California Unwisely Shutting Down 9,000 MW of Clean-Burning Gas Plants


California utilities were unwisely ordered by RE bureaucrats to shut down these plants, but they should have kept them for standby, i.e., staffed, maintained, fueled, ready to serve at a moment’s notice, in case of unreliable wind and solar not performing.


Batteries: Some RE bureaucrats say the rolling blackouts likely would not have happened, or would be less severe, if we had built out the planned battery systems.


The turnkey capital cost of 9,000 MW of batteries with a 4-hour charge is 36000 MWh x 1000 x $500/kWh = $18 billion. The batteries would need to be recharged overnight to be available the next day. Such battery systems have a 15 to 20% loss on an HV ac to HV ac basis. They last about 15 years. Where would that electricity, including losses, come from, if unreliable wind and solar were minimal?


Here’s the bottom line: If you add 10,000 MW of solar supply to your grid, as shown in Figure 2, you must have available about 10,000 MW of traditional fossil supply to cover times when unreliable renewables simply don’t cut it.


By blatantly ignoring that fact, allows RE dreamers to claim “renewables are ready for the market”.

Unreliable renewables are absolutely not ready “for the market”, without huge ongoing subsidies and full fossil backup, and in a “pinch”, they are simply not up to the job.


All of this is the total and complete fault of the Democrats, who have run California since forever, aided by huge influxes of mostly Hispanic immigrants, who likely vote Democrat.




Comment by Kenneth Capron on August 18, 2020 at 3:06pm

Is he serious? "We failed to predict and plan these shortages"? I would wager that he had millions of people predicting these shortages. Boy oh boy - if they are short now, they are really going to burn as global warming cranks up the thermometer. 

You know, that mega quake disaster where Cali slides off the Pacific edge of the continent is looking better all the time. Fear not -  mother nature has a way with course corrections.

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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