Fuel Smarter Plan: Ending California Blackouts

Abundant, stable, and clean electricity is necessary to build an innovation-driven economy. We need power to be free to live, work, and breathe. 

Californians pay the 7th highest electrical rates in the nation. Even at that premium, Gavin Newsom can’t keep the lights on.

Newsom’s failed promises have hurt our economy and left us with insufficient power. First, he promised to fix our power problems, pledging “giant leaps forward” in our energy infrastructure. When it became clear that his failed policies couldn’t stop rolling brownouts, he asked us to just accept it was the “new normal.” That’s easy for him to say from his air-conditioned private mansion.

Newsom’s brownouts impacted 51 million Californians. Elderly Californians had to go without cooling. Sick Californians had to go without power for medical devices. Now, Newsom is projecting this “unforeseen shortfall” of 5,000 megawatts through 2022.

I will never accept power shortages as “normal.” I have a data-driven plan to build a power system for the future. We will add new clean energy and ensure flexible, adequate supply. Here’s my plan to stabilize our power supply and build for the future:

Below is my plan, “Fuel Smarter”.

Fuel Smarter Step 1: Reverse the Closure of California’s Nuclear Plant

Newsom began his crusade against California’s sole remaining nuclear power plant – the Diablo Canyon Plant – in 2016 as Lieutenant Governor, ordering a full environmental review and predicting it wouldn’t be open another 10 years. 

The plant, which provides nearly 10% of California’s power, has been rated safe by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and could run well beyond 2040. 

The plant is scheduled to close in 2024 – a decision ratified by the California Legislature – with no plans to replace its production with other sources. I will work to reverse this beginning on my 1st day in office.

Fuel Smarter Step 2: Reverse the Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing

In September 2020, Newsom signed Executive Order N-79-20 to ban the use of hydraulic fracturing by 2024. This order achieves nothing except increasing California’s dependence on foreign oil. I will reverse Newsom’s Executive Order banning hydraulic fracturing.

In 1992, California imported just 5% of its crude oil from other countries. By 2019, we were importing nearly 60% of our oil from foreign countries – primarily Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia and Iraq that have low environmental and emissions standards. 

I will continue to move California toward clean and renewable energy sources using incentives instead of mandates, but unlike Newsom, I will not disrupt current power supply in the process.

Fuel Smarter Step 3: Invest in Increased Energy Storage

A key shortcoming of wind and solar power is that it is not demand-flexible or reliable – we produce no solar power at night. As we increase our reliance on wind and solar power, we must significantly increase energy storage capacity to provide reliable power. 

Today, the state has just 800 MW of storage while our peak energy demand is 43,000 MW. 

Experts suggest we need a minimum of 4,000 to 6,000 MW. As Governor, I will make infrastructure investments to increase our storage capacity while supporting research to advance storage technology.

Fuel Smarter Step 4: Manage Water Levels to Sustain Hydroelectric Power

The problems of water and power are interrelated. If we don’t manage our water correctly, as Newsom has failed to do, the water levels in our reservoirs drop so low that hydroelectric power generation declines. 

The US Energy Information Administration estimates hydroelectric generation in California this year will be 19% less than last year because of reduced water levels in our rivers and reservoirs. Hydroelectric power is an important source of clean energy. I will work to retain this source of power.