California’s Power Grid Needs $9 Billion to Go Green

California’s Power Grid Needs  Billion to Go Green

California must spend $9.3 billion on power grid upgrades to support its transition to green energy, a political push that has already sent electricity prices soaring in the Golden State.

The California Independent System Operator, a nonprofit organization that oversees the state’s electric grid, on Monday identified 46 projects the state needs to fund to complete its transition to solar and wind power and support the growth of electric car use. and household appliances. Those projects, which include new transmission lines and other network improvements, will cost billions of dollars and take years to build, the operator said.

Californians already pay some of the highest electricity bills in the country, and Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “aggressive” approach to “accelerate the state’s transition to clean energy” is only likely to increase those bills. Natural gas is cheaper than electricity, and California’s push toward electric cars and appliances has led to increased energy demand that utility providers have struggled to manage.

Electricity prices, for example, rose 15 percent in 2022 alone and have risen roughly 80 percent since 2008, when the state began its green energy push. California’s growing reliance on electricity as residents move away from gas appliances and vehicles, meanwhile, has strained the state’s power grid, causing blackouts last summer for the first time in two decades.

Those problems, state economists say, could prompt political backlash as Californians grapple with the price hikes and reduced reliability that have come with green energy in the Golden State. “It’s a big problem,” University of California professor Severin Borenstein told E&E News in January. If California mandates clean electricity, Borenstein added, “then it’s just going to take a huge political hit. Mandatory electrification when you charge people 30 or 40 cents a kilowatt-hour is going to be extremely expensive.”

“It’s kind of a fantasy policy that’s not based on where the actual technology is,” Pacific Research Institute senior fellow Wayne Winegarden told the Washington Free Beacon in March.

However, the Biden administration has repeatedly praised California’s green energy policies, with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm crediting the state for inspiring her to “move faster and further” toward a green transition. “I like the fact that California is being bold about energy policy,” Granholm said in September. “California’s courage, I think, has shaped our will in the federal government to go further and faster.”

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