Utility Dive Quotes Seth Hilton on Need for California Grid Operator to Address Shift to Clean Energy

In The News

Energy attorney Seth Hilton was quoted in Utility Dive in an article titled “California releases final root cause analysis of August rolling blackouts,” published January 15, 2021. The article discusses a recently released report prepared by several California energy agencies that outlines key factors behind the state’s decision to trigger last summer’s rolling power outages.

The report by the California Independent System Operator, California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission points to the outages being the result of a heat wave fueled by climate change, which led to excessive demand for power. Additionally, supply-demand planning targets — which dictate the proportions of power obtained from various sources — did not properly address that demand during the event, and certain market practices made the supply issues worse.

As well as underestimating demand, the planning targets have not kept up with the evolving power mix in California, which is adding more solar and wind power as part of its push to reach a 100% clean energy goal. “Given our shift to clean energy … we have to change planning assumptions and analysis to account for that change,” Hilton said.

As other states add more renewable energy, they, as well as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, are watching California closely to see how it responds to the incidents of last summer. “There was already a tremendous amount of pressure to solve this problem, but certainly FERC's interest emphasizes the need for California to get this right,” Hilton said.

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