Because of systematic under-investment in maintaining our electrical distribution over the decades, one part of the utility response has become Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS events).
Many people commented on the CAP that they were afraid of going all-electric because of these events. One person told us we needed to work on reducing the PSPS events.
These are all very important concerns.
The first thing to say is that the state is well aware of this PSPS problem, and they are working and investing in solving it. For example, the state has created incentives to encourage people to invest in on-site self generation (batteries!) (I will talk another day about how to access these incentives). Utility companies across the country are racing to install utility-scale batteries to help prevent PSPS events in different ways (HERE). In the state of California, we are investing heavily in these batteries (HERE). Indeed, we are installing more batteries in California than the entire country of China (HERE). Our California Public Utilities Commission (which regulates the investor-owned utility companies including PG&E) is working with the utilities to accelerate all kinds of investments necessary to improve the reliability of power during all times (HERE). The Federal Government is considering further incentives for batteries (HERE). These and other Federal incentives are highly targeted at improving power system reliability. (HERE).
And, finally, there are increasing numbers of renewable energy "Generators" for backup power (HERE). Indeed, we are considering ways right now to help people in Fairfax buy these to help you get through any PSPS events we may face in the short run.
As I noted yesterday, the evolution of our power system to the carbon-free one we need is not going to be without hiccups. Before the last few years, I don't think anybody anticipated this new PSPS challenge. And, no doubt, there will be others we don't anticipate today. But, as I suggested yesterday, the dangers of moving too slow are much worse than the dangers of moving too fast. And so, we must act.
Our current Federal Government, our State government, our utilities, our Town, are all doing their very best to work quickly to reduce the frequency and duration of these PSPS events, and to help us get through them when they do occur.
Each of us must do what we can in the short run, and things should get better over time. Unlike the Texans who refused to invest in weatherizing their electrical system, we are actively working to improve ours. Let's know that, and let's lead the way into the future this planet needs.
We are Fairfax; we do not bury our heads in the sand.