According to the National Weather Service, about 12 million Americans are under heat alerts. The U.S. has been baking in extreme temperatures for the past few weeks, and according to Forbes, it’s affecting energy production, causing fires, water shortages, and more.
One industry that hasn’t suffered? The nuclear power industry, which has recorded capacity factors of 96%, and above. And it hasn’t increased prices, either. Nuclear power also stepped up during the polar vortex, when natural gas and coal failed to deliver the energy needed to heat homes.
Indeed, a constant baseload power during the hottest part of the day is very important to keep the air conditioners of the nation running, as the 85,469 HVAC companies in America well know. Nuclear power is essentially the backbone of the electricity grid and is able to operate even under extreme weather conditions.
But that doesn’t mean that most of the country and utility companies don’t rely on gas and gas pipelines. With electric utilities struggling to meet peak demand, many are falling back on emergency measures. Towards the beginning of July, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued a Flex Alert — the first in two years.
The Alert called for the power conservation in California, especially citing issued with natural gas capacity in southern parts of the state.
Until that point, the state had tried to avoid the gas access and pipeline delivery problems that many other parts of the country had suffered.
“SoCalGas told us they had gas congestion and capacity issues,” reported the ISO spokesman, Steven Greenlee, leading to a decision to issue the Alert, which called for energy conservation.
During the peak hours in the state, gas supplied more than 60% of California’s electric load, with solar and wind supplying less than 15%.