All Tied Up -- and Hot -- in California
California always seems like a place of such bounty: sun for days, coastline, wide open spaces... How amusing then -- for those of us who don't live there anyway -- that it's also gotten a reputation for a kind of scarcity, i.e. electricity scarcity of the kind that causes blackouts, brownouts, and painful-to-even-look-at electric bills.
The problem has always been that this huge state (which one imagines would need to gobble electricity -- all those sound stages, all that air conditioning) has a way of tying itself up in knots over the who, what, wheres and hows of power supply. It's always been the most gung-ho about regulating the stuff, resulting in a legal maze that inevitably makes getting electricity into the state, or producing it in-state, extremely complicated and expensive. That, in turn, results in scarcity and the scarcity produces blackouts. According to Forbes, "California easily leads the nation with nearly 470 power outages a year." (Some will remember the electricity crisis of 2000- 2001, which tripled electric bills for many and eventually took down Governor Gray Davis.)
Forbes writer Jude Clemente sees another perfect storm of regulation coming -- combine the Clean Power Plan with California's Renewable Portfolio Standard, one so purist it won't even count hydroelectric among acceptable renewable sources -- which will probably give all those beautiful people another darker, hotter summer.