Note — Oct 13, 2019

This Is Why California Will Keep Burning

From back in April, excellent piece on energy companies in California, un-maintained infrastructures, resulting fires, and how microgrids could potentially overlap with the “big grid.” Very timely because of the power cuts by PG&E over the last few days. Also useful as an early example of some of the impacts of climate change, as well as the pricing loop brought about by home solar systems.

And now, more frequently, fires are the result of an old, frail electric grid, failing under the pressure of a growing society and more extreme, climate-changed weather. […]

If the largest utility with some of the highest energy prices in the country isn’t working, as a utility, a profitable business, or even just an entity that doesn’t kill people, it might mean utilities that sustain modern society shouldn’t be operating as for-profit companies. And that’s just in terms of doing the bare minimum, the maintenance we’ve long ignored. Building the green grid that would move us beyond a sketchy status quo is yet another problem. […]

Most advocates of resilient microgrids aren’t suggesting the state tear out all the existing transformers and power lines, but make them redundant over time with the installation of these networked little grids. The prospect of a distributed grid is less infrastructure anarchy than making the old monopoly system more environmentally responsible, more efficient, and more resilient.