power lines West Roseville

First activation of emergency generators for extreme climate events

Roseville, Calif. – Yesterday, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) requested the activation of temporary emergency power generators deployed by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) in Roseville and Yuba City.

In total, the four generators can provide up to 120 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the statewide power grid during extreme heat events like we are experiencing today. That’s enough electricity to power up to 120,000 homes. This was the first time that the generators were activated since they were installed last year.

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DWR along with its energy partners at ISO and the California Energy Commission put this plan into motion following Governor Newsom’s executive order in July 2021. We were able to deploy these units quickly and have them ready for any extreme heat events, wildfires, or other climate-driven energy emergencies.

“DWR has been planning for this moment for months and we’re proud of our role in safeguarding the statewide energy grid. We are doing everything possible to help keep the lights on and the air conditioning running so millions of Californians can stay safe and healthy during this extreme heat event,” said Karla Nemeth, DWR Director.

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Emergency Generators

The temporary emergency power generators are powered by natural gas and are equipped with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems to reduce emissions and limit air quality impacts. The program is designed to support a transition to a clean energy future and is temporary in nature.

In addition to the 120 MW of generation from the temporary emergency power generators, DWR has coordinated with PG&E and Southern California Edison to procure, install, and operate dozens of backup generators to be operated only during a level 2 power emergency, as declared by ISO. These backup generators are located in Northern California and Southern California and can provide up to an additional 80 MW of electricity into the statewide grid.

Strategic Reliability Infrastructure Assets

DWR is also developing the Strategic Reliability Infrastructure Assets program approved in June as part of the state’s Strategic Electricity Reliability Reserve. Programs under the Reserve will result in a diverse set of backup electricity resources to act as an insurance for all utilities and balancing areas in the state as they address this challenge along with of increasingly frequent and extreme climate-driven events and supply chain and related issues over the coming years.

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