Power demand record set

SDG&E says heat and consumption required conservation measures last week

Extreme heat during the past week resulted in new records for energy consumption being set on back-to-back days, local utility SDG&E said in a release the afternoon of September 19.

Electricity demand, according to SDG&E, reached 4781 megawatts on September 15, and then rose again to 4890 megawatts on September 16. By comparison, the now-shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was capable of producing about 2250 megawatts of power with two reactors running at full capacity.

The utility said conservation measures were "immensely helpful" in avoiding outages (aside from those resulting from downed trees as a result of brief, but intense storm activity on the 16th), though energy savings cited fell well below one percent of actual consumption.

About 70 megawatts of power were saved, SDG&E reported, with 30 megawatts coming from consumer measures such as a program that allows the utility to cut off air conditioner use during peak demand times in exchange for a small bill credit. Another 40 megawatts were reportedly saved when large-scale industrial consumers postponed energy-intensive activities such as manufacturing.

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SDGE refuses to admit that rooftop solar plays an important part in keeping the lights on. In a UT article about the heat wave a spokesman " downplayed the supportive role of rooftop solar. By 4 p.m. on Tuesday, at the top of the electrical crescendo, local solar output had fallen with the angle of the sun and incoming cloud cover, he reasoned." Note that this is just his reasoning, not based on any factual evidence. Most rooftop solar installs are south facing to gain the most benefit from the sun and there sure wasn't much cloud cover in my area.

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