A hydropower plant at California’s drought-stricken Lake Oroville that powers up to 800,000 homes could be shut down for the first time since it opened 1967 as an unrelenting heat wave torching the Southwest continues to strain the region’s electrical grid.
Lake Oroville, which is the state’s second largest reservoir, dropped to around 700 feet above sea level. If it continues to fall to 640 feet, there won’t enough water to operating the plant, California Energy Commission spokesperson Lindsay Buckley told CNN.
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on Thursday after temperatures across the state soared past 100 degrees Fahrenheit and reached nearly 130 degrees in Death Valley, where its own 1913 record for hottest air temperature ever reported on Earth could be broken.
California is looking to avoid the woes of last summer, when rolling power outages plagued residents for several days during a heatwave.
On Wednesday, the California Independent System Operator, the main power grid operator in the state, also issued an alert, asking for a five-hour voluntary electricity conversation effort on Thursday from 5pm to 10pm, peak usage times.
‘It is necessary to take action to reduce the strain on the energy infrastructure and increase energy capacity,’ the state of emergency proclamation reads.
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