While the media focuses on extreme heat and climate change in California and politicians look to blame everything but their own failed policies, Life:Powered dug up the data to tell the real story. Here are the four main takeaways from these events:

  1. Peak demand in California was not historically high despite the extreme heat. Many prior years have seen higher electricity demand.
  2. Wind and solar generated less energy during the August 14, 2020 peak than on July 25, 2018, a time of comparable demand, despite having more installed capacity this year.
  3. California is relying more on imports from other states every year as they retire in-state nuclear and natural gas generation.
  4. The massive swings in wind and solar output in California are eroding the economics the entire Western U.S. grid, suppressing prices during off peak times and forcing reliable generators out of business.

For more information and some graphical summaries of the relevant data, see the slides below.