It is time to protect California’s energy diversity

Posted: June 11, 2019
The benefits of diversity are seemingly everywhere in California. We celebrate different lifestyles, religions, cultures, music, languages, cuisine and geography. The value of diversity can be seen in other ways, too, practical ones such as the popularity of mutual fund investments, eating a balanced diet or making sure an NFL team has a playbook with multiple options.
While California needs to harness its sun, wind and water to make us more energy independent, some people are blindly trying to make California 100 percent electric.

Whether transitioning to electric vehicles or “de-carbonizing” buildings, the importance of a multipronged approach to renewable energy has gotten lost or ignored – even energy sources that are renewable, sustainable, and help the environment.

First, relying on a single source of energy is a dangerous proposition. The last time California regulators tried to micromanage the energy market was two decades ago when the state was gripped by a massive energy crisis that brought electrical shortages and skyrocketing consumers prices. Rolling blackouts threw hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses into darkness and zero power.

Second, consider that our electrical grid is computer based. Hackers – inside the U.S. or around the world – pose a serious threat.

Third, a shift toward a 100-percent electrical society reneges on the promise of building a vibrant and innovative California. There have been incredible innovations involving many different types of energy sources that are already helping California meet its carbon-reduction goals.

Fourth, even if demand for electricity explodes, can California realistically provide enough renewable electricity? For the foreseeable future, the answer is no. And according to the Los Angeles Times, new demand will “tax a system already fragile, unstable and increasingly vulnerable to outside forces.”

Fifth, other sources of energy are simply better for the environment and our California lifestyle. Home and professional chefs prefer cooking with gas – as do consumers who grill with propane. Electricity is not exactly portable. How will restaurants and homeowners conveniently provide outdoor heating without tripping over dozens of extension cords?

While most people like and appreciate electricity, they cannot and should not have to imagine a world with only one source of energy. Like everything else, energy diversity needs to be celebrated and promoted as a key to a clean and green future.

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