The Only Thing Keeping North Dakota From California-Style Power Blackouts Has Been Luck So Far


MINOT, N.D. — “California’s aggressive push to abandon natural gas for solar, wind and other renewable sources to meet its goals of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide blamed for rising global temperatures has left the state vulnerable to outages during heat waves as the sun sets and solar power fades,” the San Jose Mercury News reported this week.

That news came as millions of Californians faced the possibility of blackouts amid a heatwave and an on-going pandemic. California’s power grid doesn’t have enough baseload power to keep the lights on when intermittent sources of energy like solar and wind fail, and neighboring networks don’t have any energy to spare.

Thus, blackouts.

It’s an embarrassing turn of events, all the more so because it’s happening in one of the most prosperous states in one of the wealthiest nations in the world.

We North Dakotans may be tempted to read the news of California’s power grid challenges with a shrug and dismissive snort about those kooky Californians.

We shouldn’t be dismissive.

California’s experience should be our cautionary tale.

If you think what’s happening there can’t happen here, you’re wrong.

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