Keeping the lights on while reducing fossil fuel generation

One way California and other Western states could do a better job keeping the lights on — while continuing to cut down on fossil fuel combustion, and potentially saving billions of dollars — would be to share more electricity across state lines.

At least, there are many clean energy advocates who think so. And their push for a coordinated Western electric grid — in which California could more easily tap into low-cost wind power from Wyoming, for instance — got a boost late last week, when state officials from Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington announced a new effort to create an independent agency to govern electricity markets across the region. The nine signatories included two appointees of Gov. Gavin Newsom.


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The bottom line is, we may have clean energy any time we are willing to pay for it. Wanting it on the cheap is our nemesis. Then it will take a long time. By default we imply we’d rather take storm damage and forest fires and pay that way instead.

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