The government of California, which just last week became the first state to ban the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035, is sending its citizens some very conflicting messages about going green, and inadvertently, putting its competence into question.
Merely days after Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom hailed the California Air Resource Board’s unprecedented law to require all vehicles sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2035, California’s grid operator on Tuesday warned citizens to conserve energy and refrain from charging their EVs to reduce strain on the power grid during a forecasted heatwave.
The California Independent System Operator issued a news release advising Californians that it will likely send calls for voluntary electricity conservation via Flex alerts over the Labour Day weekend, which is expected to see temperatures reach up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. “During a Flex Alert, consumers are urged to reduce energy use from 4-9 p.m. when the system is most stressed because demand for electricity remains high and there is less solar energy available.” The memo also suggested that thermostats be set to no less than 78 degrees to cut back air conditioner use, households avoid using large appliances and shut unnecessary lights off, as well as refrain from plugging in their EVs.
“Lowering electricity use during that time will ease strain on the system, and prevent more drastic measures, including rotating power outages,” the ISO cautioned. Of course, the warning couldn’t have come at the most conflicting time, because the state also simultaneously ramped up its embrace of zero-emission transportation. “This plan’s yearly targets—35 percent ZEV sales by 2026, 68 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2035—provide our roadmap to reducing dangerous carbon emissions and moving away from fossil fuels. That’s 915 million oil barrels’ worth of emissions that won’t pollute our communities,” said Newsom on August 25, referring to the new law.
Both Newsom’s office and the California ISO have yet to offer comment on Californians’ cognitive dissonance between cutting pollution and causing rolling blackouts.
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