It’s Dark in California but the Message is Clear: More Microgrids Needed
California is the poster child for microgrids, usually in a good way, this week in a bad way.
The power outages to 738,000 electric customers illustrated that even California, one of the lead states deploying microgrids, is not building them quickly enough. Microgrids act as local islands of power when the central grid fails, or in this case when power is intentionally shut down as a safety precaution.
Some Californians had access to microgrids when the outage struck; most did not.
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) began shutting off power Wednesday under threat of high winds. The utility was concerned that downed power lines would spark fires that would quickly spread in windy conditions. In bankruptcy over earlier wildfires that resulted in loss of life, the utility was taking no chances.
Press reports described chaos as a big swath of the world’s fifth largest economy this week found itself without an essential resource.