Watts Up? New, Unanticipated Factors Meant Schwarzenegger Barely Weathered Perfect Energy Storm, on Pajamas Media.
WEATHERING what may have been California’s worst ever heat wave, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger survived the very issue that began his recalled predecessor’s downward spiral. In doing so, the governor grappled with issues that may afflict the rest of the nation. It was a perfect energy storm. And it may prove not to be uncommon.
Democratic Governor Gray Davis was flying high five years ago when rolling blackouts hit California, kicking him into a tailspin from which he never recovered. Those blackouts, later shown to have been partly manipulated by Enron and other power generators, occurred when electric power demand from the state’s regulated utilities was 41,000 megawatts. This past week Schwarzenegger narrowly managed to avert blackouts with the peak power demand at 52,000 megawatts.
He was helped because the Enron-style market manipulation, which led to billions in fines, was a thing of the past. But Schwarzenegger nearly crashed as well. The conditions for another tailspin were omnipresent. The demand for electric power was suddenly much higher than it was just last summer. And far higher than forecast when he came into office after ousting Davis in the Golden State’s raucous recall election of 2003.
Just after Schwarzenegger was elected in October 2003, the management agency of California’s electric power grid, the California Independent System Operator, delivered a five-year forecast of the state’s power needs …