Earlier I wrote that the Camp Pendelton fire didn’t threaten the nuclear power plant. But my photo did show the fire burning underneath the power lines, and fire under the lines caused them to shut the plant down. This contributed to the power shortages prompting SDG&E to call for more energy curtailments, and for Sun to take steps to reduce our power load. With so many power lines taken out by the fires, we narrowly avoided blackouts with some help from the Navy.
Here at home I continue better than self sufficient during the peak hours of electricity demand, but by a much smaller margin than usual. With a layer of ash coating my solar panels, efficiency is way down and I’m only generating 1 to 1.3 kW. Soon I’ll have to venture up on the roof with a garden hose again to rinse them off, and think some more about my remote solar panel sprinkler project.
All this makes me think that San Diego really could be energy independent, and we ought to be. Start with lots more solar power, and wind power, which have different time-of-day power curves. Add some giant batteries, as developed by E.ON AG. And modernize the natural gas plants to use primarily as peakers in times of high demand. Power lines are great to move energy around for small adjustments in supply and demand, but are just too vulnerable to rely on for a large fraction of the region’s power.