I am currently living in a zone with regular multi-day power outages in California. I have already experienced three multi-day power outages in the last month and will likely have another one later this week. Any time there are winds with gusts over 30-45 mph in the napa area and into the east bay of the San Francisco bay area then PG&E will cut power because their equipment is dangerous.
I have determined that the best option for me is to get a Honda EU2200 generator. One gallon of gasoline can operate it at about 400-watt power for 8 hours. This is about $6-8 per day for fairly robust blackout back up operations.
A roughly one thousand dollar inverter generator like the Honda 2200 can power refrigerators, some lights, laptops and wifi during multi-day power outages.
This generator has powered a friend’s house that has two refrigerators, lights and laptops. They used an extension cord with surge protection to safely operate their laptops.
There are backup lithium batteries for camping or for UPS that can be used for powering sensitive electronics. The generator could recharge the larger battery to maintain operation of electronics without any surge worries.
Ice and dry ice could work but is not logistically practical and more of hassle. Also, dry ice would cost $25-50 per day. There is also not enough supplies of ice and dry ice at stores during such a wide power outage.
There are natural gas generators that can be installed to supply power for your entire house. They cost in the $2500 to $5000 range but also need professional installation.
The full house standby generator means that there is no worries about also powering air conditioning, heaters, washing machines and clothes washing. The cost would be about three times less than the gasoline generators.
Most batteries for solar power will run out of power under heavy load in about 8-20 hours. A larger battery in an electric vehicle could last 1-4 days and could be driven and recharged in areas without power outages. However, Tesla do not have the 120-volt inverters for Vehicles to Grid (V2G) power supplies. Using the Tesla in this way would currently void the battery warranty. The Nissan Leaf has V2G systems.
California Energy Utility and Forest Mismanagement
Here is a summary of the California Energy, Fire and Forest situation.
There are over 130 million dead trees lying around in California forests. Dead trees are easy fuel for big forest fires. Only about 1 million per year are removed. There are massive limitations around logging and cutting in California. Other states (Texas, Colorado, Florida, Wyoming) can have comparable amounts of forests but they have not allowed their forests to become such fire problems. British Columbia, Canada (BC) has a lot of forests and they have far better forest management. BC had some fire problems because of a disease, that killed a lot of trees, but if there are fire breaks, fuel breaks, intelligent logging and proper tree density then things are not so difficult to control.
There has been the claim that this California problem is because of global climate change. However, every other state, province and country with forests do not have the degree of grid causes power fires and mass blackout management.
There are well-known metrics from one hundred years of forest management around how many trees per acre is safe and how to make mile-wide fuel breaks. Controlled burns are needed to clear out the fuel breaks and they need to be maintained before fire season.
Even after $30 billion in fire damage in the prior two years, 80+ deaths and more fire damage this year and the multi-billion power outages, there is still strong opposition to “radical tree trimming”.
PG&E the Northern California utility has allowed its 106,681 circuit miles of electric distribution lines and 18,466 circuit miles of interconnected transmission lines to end up in a poorly maintained and dangerous condition. This is the same company that harmed the residents of Hinkley, California in the based upon reality Julia Roberts movie Erin Brockovich.
PG&E faces consequences for violating their probation from the 2010 San Bruno Gas Explosion. In January 2019, the nation’s largest utility filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because it faces at least $30 billion in potential damages from lawsuits over the catastrophic wildfires in California in 2017 and 2018 that killed scores of people and destroyed thousands of homes.
PG&E was convicted of five felony counts of pipeline safety violations that led to the 2010 San Bruno Gas Explosion and one felony count of obstruction of justice for lying to officials.
PG&E first filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy on April 6, 2001. The company said that this was due to their energy costs rising by more than $300 million a month without reimbursement. PG&E said they were around $9 billion in debt.
The Hinkley contamination occurred between 1952-1966, however, PG&E did not report the contamination to the local water board until years later. After examining their practices, PG&E reported it contaminated the water supply with chromium-6, which is one form of the metallic element chromium.
Nearly 650 people affected by the contamination sued PG&E with the legal aid of Erin Brockovich. The company settled for $333 million.
In 1994, PG&E was convicted of 739 counts of criminal negligence for failing to trim trees near its power lines. The untrimmed trees were said to be the main reason for the Trauner Fire.
PGE caused a fire in 2003. The fire caused a power outage to more than 100,000 customers throughout San Francisco on one of the busiest holiday shopping days.
In 1999, a fire burned nearly 12,000 acres of the Tahoe and Plumas National Forests over 11 days. The fire was blamed on PG&E’s poor vegetation management and inspection programs.
There were over 6 smaller incidents from 2004 to 2015.
PG&E systems are dangerous but fire management by mass blackout is an incredibly bad plan. PG&E likely caused the Kincade fire. They have likely caused dozens of other fires. A tennis club and three houses burned because of downed power pole.
By 7 a.m. Tuesday, the Kincade Fire has grown to 75,415 acres, Cal Fire said on Twitter. The fire was 15% contained. The Kincade has destroyed 124 structures, the agency said, 57 of which were residential homes. Twenty-three others were damaged, and more than 90,000 were at risk. Over 200,000 people were evacuated because of the risk that the fire could rapidly sweep through urban areas.
There needs to be micro-gridding to reduce the range of different blackouts. Power lines need to be buried in many areas. The electric systems need different kinds of phasors and inverters and other safety and control equipment.
San Diego’s utility had addressed their own fire issue starting in 2010 and they are 60% remediated. PG&E has had a significant and obvious fire, electrical and forest problem since 1994 and 1999.
Today, Pacific Gas & Electric just warned could conduct its third power cut in less than a week; nearly 4 million people could be in the dark.
SOURCES – ABC News, Wikipedia, Amazon Home Depot, Personal Research
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.
72 thoughts on “$1000 Honda Gasoline Inverter Generator is My Best Option for Multi-Day Blackouts”
Elevators are not a problem unless you live in a multi-floor apartment building. Adding a solar system with batteries will take care of the rest. Note, I PGE&E should have supply these systems to people that need them (of course it can still charge the same power rate to them if it does so.)
PS, people only leave because of the housing costs.
That’s certainly your cheapest option but a more practical real solution is solar power with backup batteries. It also has the intended consequence of zeroing out your power bill too!
Utilities are a different animal. I don’t think the market system functions well with utilities because they are monopolies or nearly monopolies. For the market to really hum you need roughly 20 makers/providers of virtually interchangeable products or services or competitiveness is compromised and you pay much more than you should for generally much less. There are several other components you need: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_competition#Idealizing_conditions_of_perfect_competition
I think the best solution is for the government to own utilities but allow them to be run by a contractor…but the direct government run option is also calculated, and if an offer does not underbid that option, then the government runs it. And if the contractor wins, they held to their contract price, no tricks. They also must show that there is reason to believe they can do the job…unlike that stupidity with the Puerto Rico hurricane damage grid repair deal.
In the US we have a history of the willingness to make things available to rural communities even if it costs a bit more to make it available to them. I think that is a good thing. This willingness has been around for a long time, tradition if you will. Rural Free Delivery is a good early example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_Free_Delivery
And that definitely was more of a public gift…but it turned out to be an investment, as companies made catalogues and the rural people could buy things making them more productive.
Turns out plastic bags are way more cheaper to make than those reusable shopping bags. They actually did research to see how many uses the reusable bag had to be used to finally surpassed the cost benefit of the plastic bag…. 40,000 uses.
On a general basis there’s merit in the framework you describe. In this particular situation though, I think the overriding core problem is operating shared public infrastructure as a for-profit private company though. It’s a classic shared commons tragedy writ large. Especially for low margin, high capital cost, high maintenance cost infrastructure.
It would be nice to see core transmission infrastructure and last mile service rolled into a non-profit public corporation, divorced from generation and storage (which should be for-profit). When one thinks of the regulations that forced rural electrification and rural telephones, effectively offloading higher costs of rural areas by having urban areas pay for it, you are already forcing the majority to serve the minority in the name of complete coverage and a level playing field, so complete maintenance is implied. To a certain degree, I would argue at this stage the state/regional ISO’s are functionally similar to such an organization anyways. I would also make the argument due to the functional nature of the grid, that a federal non-profit corporation for transmission and ISO functionality should exist, as the electrons are inter-state commerce and fungible. Going federal would also cover the regulator power needed to extend the grid to areas with poor service and interconnect regional grids for load sharing to increase total grid effectiveness.
Interesting. But, of course, that is not exactly what I am talking about. As I stated, bankruptcy “due the settlements or fines”. Perhaps I should have said more precisely what kind of settlements. I meant court settlements/awards resulting from crimes…not inability to pay normal contracted stuff they believed they could pay for when they ordered/agreed to pay.
I can see advantages and disadvantages to the Japanese law. It does reduce gambling on things that are total long shots, preventing a lot of losses.
I would suggest changing it a bit like making the board members still culpable even if they left 2 years ago. So if they do jump ship 2 years before they think it will sink, those new managers probably still have a chance to right the ship. And you might get people on those new boards who are specialists at fixing corporations…rather than just people to take the fall.
Limiting startups? You could make the law only apply to companies with more than $50 million invested (not the stock value…what the initial stock, and any additional stock offerings were sold for). I realize that is still a small amount when it comes to companies, but I do think people should figure out how to get in the black at that level…for most ventures. We often scale up way too fast. Working out the kinks at the small scale is generally best. Maybe a little more leeway in the investment value if the board members put in a substantial fraction of the investment to start with.
There is no shortage of people who want to be board members. And those who can’t manage to stay clean? Who needs them?
If they are not voting to break laws or breaking laws themselves, there is no additional risk. Rogue employees who do something illegal the board members don’t have to worry about, as long as they fire them promptly, and report their illegal activities.
All compensation should be limited to 50x the lowest paid employee including those working under contractors that have been hired. And I mean this should be Federal law. And I mean no employee of the company, board member or not, should be paid over 50x the lowest paid. The idea that people can set their own salaries is a major conflict of interest and is damaging our economy.
Future board membership wherever in the US would be exactly the same, so worry about their future careers is not a factor. They could work in another company just not on the board of directors.
If they want to work instead for some other company in some other country because our laws are too strict…good riddance.
I am not saying every low level employee has to know every pertinent law…it is whoever directed them who would be accountable.
The fact is that a corporation by its very design fits the criteria for sociopathy. Therefore they must be well regulated. And they are not because they buy the politicians…they have always bought the politicians. Money talks, even if it is arrived at unethically.
87,000 acres of controlled burn in 2018. After $30 billion in PG&E court determined liability in 2017 and 2018. 30 miles of lines buried. Controlled burns and dangerous power line burying at pace for 1000 years to resolve problem. Now the “urgent response” is to speed up to 500,000 acres of controlled burns of forest thinning and to get state budget of $1 billion over 5 years. If goals were met 15-60 years to get some handle on problem but still less than 20% of the Florida controlled burns or forest management.
Managing forests is not beyond Florida, Georgia, Texas, Montana, BC, Washington state, etc…
more than 10 years in the making, with putting out fires too fast being California’s approach for decades, but accelerated over the last 10 years. 8 of those years Newsom was #2 leader in California.
Florida has 80,000+ controlled burns of over 2 million acres. Florida is paying for those burns not the US forest service. California had 87,000 acres burned.
As my next article on this topic says. California will burn a million plus acres each year…Either wildfires or controlled burns.
Where is the US Forest service paying for significant burns in another state?
42% of USFS budget is for fire fighting. California is definitely getting its share of fire fighting budget.
Funding for three burns is irrelevant when tens of thousands need to be done.
Liability for gross burns has to be changed to gross negligence. If the controlled burner does not destroy someone house and in kill grannie or does some other major screw up and has a competent plan then they should be good to go.
Yes there are, but they are seasonal and for good reason. Show me your Red Card. I have one.
What part? the part with extremely low population density? CA got hit hard by a drought/bark beetle problem, response was slow. Try surveying for millions of dead trees. They do not just happen in one area, more like 6-12 in a pocket, spread out over many acres. Tell me when have you actually gone out and climbed over dead trees and through poison Oak with a Trimble to map this stuff. I have.
PG&E is a classic example of a market failure.
Thanks for the reminder: (Sets my lights charging from my work power point.)
So your plan is to limit corporate board membership to people who are bigger risk takers, with less concern about their future careers, and probably demanding higher pay as compensation?
Japan has a system where board directors from a bankrupt company are banned from being a corporate officer again for 10 years. However, that set of regulations has largely been credited with holding down the startup industry in japan, as founders from failed startups effectively get a career death penalty, rather than flipping over to their next startup. It’s part of the social stigma of joining a startup company in the first place in modern japanese culture.
Also, the rules only apply to the last directors standing, which has led to a nasty cottage industry of finding foreigners who are planning to leave japan and not ever return to be appointed directors at a company on the cusp of bankruptcy. This leaves the hands of leaving directors clean to pursue corporate officership elsewhere. The japanese government is only now starting to fight that after 30 years of that behavior…
Ah, life in a third-world country. And what distinguishes it from better run places? Heaven forfend! Did you say government?!! Maybe it’ll work out that you can take the bullet train to evacuate. After all, government has nothing better to do with your money.
Next problem: More water shortages, and its distribution through an aging infrastructure.
Sometimes that is not obvious. Congressional votes are generally public. Corporate boards vote on things no one sees unless there is a subpoena or something. Also, the way the Supreme Court rules is largely a function of which party’s Presidents appointed the Judges…rather than than anything in the document itself…unless blatant.
I think corporations were made for 2 reasons: 1. The one always stated: it is a way to get many investors reducing risk for each for large enterprises. 2. A means for the rich to dodge personal accountability, liability, and retain earlier profits if the enterprise should fail. Because the rich control governments they can pass the laws with protect themselves. It is like going into battle knowing no one can shoot you, just your horse…but you are free to kill all the opposing infantry at will. It is also similar to the advantages the rich and nobles had in Europe, where they got a slap on the wrist for a crime while a poor commoner would be killed or tortured or both.
(with relatively warm water and reliable waves)
“In 2015, the Sierra Forest Legacy, the Forest Service, CAL FIRE, the state fire agency, and other agencies and groups signed an agreement to use more fire in wildlands management and increase training for fire managers and crews. Since then, the Forest Service has increased the total acreage where it has allowed natural fires to burn from an annual average of about 10,000 acres to 247,000 in 2016 and 130,000 this year. “That was a big jump,” says Rob Griffith, assistant director of the Forest Service Pacific Southwest region’s fire and aviation program.
Prescribed burns are up, too, from 20,000 acres on average before the agreement to about double that in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Some 96,000 acres of prescribed burns are scheduled for the next fiscal year, Griffith adds.”
Yes they did this, then in 2017 everything came to a halt. Every project became a waiting game for how quickly the agency could move, which grew slower over time.
The PG&E problems existed for decades with first tree and brush related major fire incident in 1994 with PG&E liability.
A century of fire suppression is blamed for california’s brush and tree problems and woefully insufficient PG&E maintenance
UC Berkeley fire ecologist Brandon Collins brought me here to show me the consequence of decades of fire suppression combined with climate change. This forest would usually burn nine times over the course of 100 years, but no fire had blazed here since at least 1908. “Without fire, you’re going to have these dense stands no matter what,” Collins says.
In 2014, the King Fire hit this unnaturally overgrown forest, leaping into the canopy and racing across a vast landscape. Limited patches of high-intensity fire would be natural in these forests. But in 47 percent of the 97,717 acres burned in the King Fire, the blaze was so hot that it killed nearly all of the trees.
About 18.6 million trees died in 2018, mainly the result of dehydration and beetle infestation, according to new estimates from the U.S. Forest Service. That pushes the total number of dead since 2010, shortly before the five-year drought began, to 147 million. It’s a toll not seen in modern times.
Those trees did not all die in 2011, they died between 2012 and 2015 (the height of the drought, most trees can handle a few years). Most tree removal projects I worked on were started in 2015-2016. I also grew up backpacking those forests (over 20 multi-day trips in Yosemite alone), I saw it happen with my own eyes. Each project lasts a few years and takes about a year to get going. After 2017, problems began to occur and things were frequently postponed. Newsom had nothing to do with it since they were federal, please give me a figure of how much State land has burned, or a past bill for fire prevention where Newsom has had an ounce of authority. Nearly all has been federal or private. The recession also didn’t help as well, as all the fed jobs were cut until like 2011, when they started hiring again, then had to deal with the occasional shutdown.
There are many on he ground factors you fail to address. The three projects I was on (all fairly large covering a few hundred thousand acres total in west Sierra Nevada), all in Mariposa County, two were cut in February due to a lack of USFS crew as they hired too slow, the other was essentially cut due to the government shut down. Both when the government shut down and slow crew hire, it postponed action, which resulted in the project being pushed outside of its burn window (late winter, early spring) and thus got axed. You cannot burn in the summer and fall its too dangerous, you cant use the big machines either as they also create a fire risk. This happens from time to time and is an increasing problem with how the feds are being mismanaged at the moment.
I will admit there are many factors and the state needs to do more, but much of it requires coordination with the feds and that is a big problem at the moment. Those project were eventually restarted, but 9 months later, with new funding approval.
This problem has been in the making for 10 years, but stuff that was in the works keeps getting postponed or cancelled.
I agree with you but only if it is the same for elected officials:
If the Senate (or whatever) vote an unconstitutional law and the Supreme Court deem it unconstitutional, all that voted for it must be ineligible and barred from any public office.
Canada has the same problem with Chinese (Hong Kong especially) investors in real estate. It’s the main reason why Vancouver real estate is so expensive (especially on the price to average income metric).
Monopolies create incompetence and corruption within every organization in which they are found. This is true in government and utilities, especially when they work together!
I have one of those honda generators. I converted to tri-fuel. It will run on natural gas, propane, or gasoline.
It has never had a ounce of gasoline in it. When the electricity goes out, I use natural gas because it is much cheaper, runs cleaner,runs smother, plus it never runs out.
BTW There are youtube videos on adding electric starters to them too.
That moment when people who don’t live in CA realize how messed up we are.
Could be worse, we could be Illinois.
Not a bad idea the problem is that if you offer $1,000 of help per household then you will have a $5 billion bill.
And we had a great year for rainfall this year. Multiple flower blooms, brush grew like weeds, etc. And we are shocked shocked shocked to find out that lots of dead brush is a fire hazard.
Hey now we banned plastic bags too (now you have to pay to get them). We may be stupid but at least we are stupidly consistent.
You’ve obviously never been to Wyoming.
We are low on land, remaining land has difficult land use policies, the state of CA decrees that new homes must have solar panels on them (that won’t work when the grid goes down). Lots of reasons there. Some are not CA’s fault, some are.
Please explain to me why my tax money as a Southern Californian should go to pay to power Northern California when the NorCal environmentalists and Sacramento politicians pushed to shut down SONGS and raised my electricity prices? Where was my bailout?
BS. Most of the large fires are in areas that voted for Trump.
Families? Not really. CA is a crazy expensive place and kids aren’t cheap. Easier to raise a family once you move well away from the ocean where land is cheaper (but where you get your power cut- coincidentally the parts of the state that vote R).
Over the decades I have bid numerous friends and their families goodbye.
In my neck of the woods new homes are bought by Chinese who are looking to get money out of China. Lots of great Chinese restaurants, good students in schools, very little to not like apart from cash buyers pushing real estate costs in to the stratosphere.
Because they have millions that they want to get out of China. Preferably get the wife and son here, get citizenship, get in to a US university. Buy the son a BMW M3 for a college beater car. I drove a beater Nissan to college and paid much of my own way working on weekends. Nowadays many kids in college have better cars than I do today.
Because we are the largest state?
In the bay area it is H1B workers who really want to get to America. Put their years in at their job (3) then move on. Repeat, repeat, eventually get citizenship. One common path for leaving places like Russia or China goes through the Bay area. If CA didn’t have access to H1B visas then the economy would collapse in a half decade. CA can’t even keep kids in school for regular full days due to budget cuts from the last recession (reduced schedule day at least once a week).
In summary, the hydrocarbon fuel burning internal combustion engine saves the day (week, fridge, life,..) in a rather predictable life situation, and is preferred to frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice) on the cost basis to buy a few days of survival (until the fridge is empty, as fridges in a grocery shop have no backup power). Also, a larger hydrocarbon fuel burning internal combustion engine is considered as a permanent solution for the power problem.
Someone, get Greta the mop and bucket – she is going to cry herself dry!
Plot twist lol
Well I’d say the same however it would be nice if they just stayed in their state
You should mentioned that the dead trees are due to warming of the weather and resulting beetle infestation killing the trees. I don’t like California but we still should give balanced coverage.
When a corporation has to go into chapter 11 due the settlements or fines, I think the entire board should be fired and banned from ever being on a corporate board again (and fired from that company). Then if it happens again, at least you know it is not the same people messing with everyone again, with impunity. And maybe those who voted to do the action or inaction leading to these liabilities should serve time, and pay substantial fines. Those who voted the other way, should have to report the crime promptly, if they want to keep their job.
In my mind, this is corruption. It may not be government corruption, but it is corruption nonetheless.
They only go to jail now if they lie to stockholders, embezzle/run ponzi schemes, engage in hanky panky, or they do some sexual harassment, abuse or exhibit clear hiring or advancement bias.
As long as they do something as a result of a board decision, they are pretty much, not culpable.
At least that is how I understand it…I could be wrong. I admit that what I know of this is hearsay.
If you own a home a backfed whole house natural gas or propane generator is like $8000 installed.
That is a lot cheaper than the sell fee on a home worth a million dollars.
If you rent though, you’re just taking this on the chin.
How was the 1000 year pace of California forest thinning or the 1000 year pace of line burying the fault of the Federal government. All other states pay for their own forest thinning and power line burying and upgrading of grid. The grid upgrades are paid for by the utilities.
The laws balancing air quality, prescribed burns, forest management are managed mainly in the state. The Federal agencies have been congressionally mandated to provide timely approvals on prescribed burns.
The budget for prescribed burns and line burying can be supplemented by the Cali government.
Dead tree removals were about 1 million trees per year of the 130+ million dead trees. How many trees were coming out in your dead tree projects?
US forest has had a budget of about $6B per year. So $600m would be California’s share. 42% is spent fighting fires. California is getting it full share of fire fighting money from USFS. The Forest Service employs 34,250 employees in 750 locations, including 10,050 firefighters, 737 law enforcement personnel, and 500 scientists. So the bureaucracy is most of the rest. That is not where there will be budget to solve California forest and grid problems which California allowed to happen.
fine, try to get the feds to chip in. Declare states of emergencies and request army core of engineers etc. But the US forest service is not going to have $20 billion just for california’s forest cluster f***. Did I miss Obama giving billions and ramping up USFS 2008-2016?
California has $20 billion budget surpluses but they chose to spend $1 billion over 5 years on more forest thinning.
California has set a goal even before the fund was allocated of “treating” 500,000 acres of wildland per year. “Treatment” refers to any slashing, burning, sawing or thinning of growth to make forests less susceptible to burning out of control.
The number of acres treated in recent years averages only about 30,000 because of factors including attention to native species and lack of adequate staff and funding to oversee projects, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
57 percent of California’s 33 million acres of forest are controlled by the federal government.
If the 500,000 acre of wildland treating per year goal was met that would mean about 60 years to treat all land. 100,000 to 400,000 acres end up burning in big fire each year. At the pace of 30,000 acres per year which is what was actually done while Newsom was lieutenant governor , it would take 1000 years to treat all of the California forest.
This is about the same pace as PG&E burying lines. About 30 miles per year pace for a 1000 year timeline to bury all of the needed lines.
Newsom has been in the #1 or #2 role for 8 years in California.
California has to wake up and prioritize this over clean air days, and those who are blocking logging, thinning and controlled burns. The laws need to be changed to match up with Florida etc…
Atlas Shrugged was a rubbish book with cardboard cutout characters, a stupid plot and moronic philosophy.
And the most annoying part is how it is so horribly accurate.
What? You guys aren’t even doing hazard reduction burns?
OK, that’s just a deliberate decision to have major fires then. There isn’t even any debate any more.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a series of bills in September, 2018 that will streamline regulations for thinning forests in fire zones, allow limited removal of some larger trees and force cities and counties to plan better defenses for individual properties and communities.
But these actions are clearly too little.
The measures also promised $1 billion over five years to clean up thousands of acres of deadwood, chaparral and forest — California’s biggest-ever promise of money to reduce fire fuels. The 201money is only pledged; the California Legislature and incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom will have to assure it’s actually allocated each year.
California’s determination historically to squelch fires quickly has left forests choked with trees. One researcher in the Sierra Nevada range found records from 1911 showing 19 trees per acre in one section of the giant Stanislaus National Forest, compared to 260 trees per acre a century later.
California’s timber industry also has been greatly diminished. Companies made 4.5 million board feet of lumber in 1975 but only one-third that amount in 2016, a change environmentalists viewed as restoring needed ecological balance and companies saw as unduly restrictive.
Skinny, tightly spaced trees and heavy brush created conditions that fueled so-called “crown” fires — in which flames could climb quickly climb from undergrowth into t
“Fat Cat” is a metaphor. They are actually real people, not cats.
In 2017, a groundbreaking study concluded that wildfire smoke contains three times as much pollution as smoke from prescribed fires.
KQED described the limitations around controlled burns in California.https://www.kqed.org/science/1927354/controlled-burns-can-help-solve-californias-fire-problem-so-why-arent-there-more-of-them
Newsom was sworn in as lieutenant governor on January 10, 2011. He was SF mayor before that. He was part of the Jerry Brown administration. Why would Newsom get a pass for the situation as it has developed since 2011?
I think about it, but there is still a lot of opportunity here. There are many technology startups, new innovation, entrepreneurs, technologists etc… I can physically meet and talk with people at multiple AI companies and nanotechnology companies in one week.
A lot of the natural gas network is operated by natural gas fired turbines/microturbines/reciprocating engines driving pumps, precisely to be electrically independent.
Down on the otherside of the US we have these amazing private industries that bring in billions in resources, jobs, taxes that handle all those pesky problems you are saying needs federal money. otherwise known as the logging industry. Amazingly when you trade requires fire prevention containment measures to protect your income they somehow get done while still making a profit at NO ZERO state or fed expense. amazing. All the while still amazing we still have a flourishing ecosystem that brings in more millions in license, leasing, and permit fees in the form of the recreational hunting programs.
those evil capitalist
Yes, yes, good heavens yes!!! The California government deserves all the negative press and mockery it gets. Impeach the lot of the CA legislature and consider turning the Sacramento state government district into a giant parkland.
Im in Texas like enjoying our own power grid and energy production and all… at least California banned their straws based on an 8 year-old’s school report.
Getting some pretty serious Atlas Shrugged vibes from California as I read news like these…
California has always been the punching bag of conservatives and other Neanderthals. There’s always an attempt at labeling it a failed state, completely ignoring the struggling states it supports through its massive tax outlays to the feds. You better hope California never goes down the drain. As the saying goes, ‘As goes California, so goes the nation’.
Note: CA has gone up in recent years due to federal spending on fire fighting and assistance to those impacted.
Fat cats? Nope. I see families with children…real people.
Calif is beautiful,but we see pictures of the homeless problem that really give outsiders a bad impression.
The improper maintenance of the utility line right of way is the electric companies fault. I don’t care if they were regulated out of proper behaviour or what. They knew what the end result would be.
Same can be said of the forest service, town councils, county regulators, everyone turned a blind eye. That some dope in Sacramento says something does not mean you have the right to be dumb.
Another thing that California could do is help people buy battery storage even without solar which takes longer to install. Admittedly it is more expensive than buying a generator, but it is environmentally friendly and it could help balance the grid even after this crisis is over.
all you need is a solar water heater… and a mining hat with led lights running off of aaa batteries…. and 20 tablets that you can charge at work each day on their electric bill….
No. What I would question is leaving the US. California would be better off on its own, it looses 23% of all tax revenue the federal government receives from it. Why do you think its state taxes are high? Since its rich it make up the difference in state taxes. It subsidizes many small states. People live in California because it is literally the most naturally/geographically diverse and beautiful state in the US. Trash on it all you want, but there is a reason it has astronomical property values. This power stuff, while a tragedy, will sort itself out. There is plenty of money. CA has a 15-20 billion rainy day fund to get started. The wind stuff and outage will end by late November. Blame Newsome all you want, but this was a problem that started without anything he did or didn’t do. If he responds poorly, burn him. However, a few months was never enough time to solve this. Coordinating with the feds is not an easy task in this admin, most of the land they need to work on is private or federal. The Trump run feds have little resources to do much and don’t expect help. Trump wants CA to burn, it fits his agenda.I had actually worked on about 3 different USFS dead tree removal projects in CA before Trump took office, they were shut down by budget cuts from him to the USFS. CA needs federal approval to do work on federal land, a depleted USFS cant handle the work caused by the drought/bark beetle created dead tree problem from 4 years back.
I’m sure conditions in CA will catch up to those “overblown negative issues from certain ideological backgrounds” soon enough.
FYI, the people buying into CA RE are foreigners (mostly Chinese) and fat cats looking to get out of government bonds and debt-laden blue chips. Enjoy your new landlords.
Finally, a practical way to increase the range of electric vehicles.
You make a great point. You do hear a lot about the high cost of real estate in CA. All that really means is people are willing to pay high prices for real estate in California. Whoever is buying the real estate is clearly optimistic. Long term that could change as currently California has net negative migration. Still a growing state with new births but could start shrinking given increased out migration.
For the Natural Gas generators, I wonder if gas pressure will be a concern? Guessing they are run by electric pumps.
As someone living in BC, I would argue our forest management is still far from and ideal that should be promoted..
Honda is the way to go for reliability. People buying second hand Hondas should check serial numbers against this recall:
Portable Electric is a supplier of industrial grade battery systems I work with. With their solar integration, the systems provide a steady load allowing generators to be shifted to ‘topping up’ the battery only a few hours a day as needed. http://portable-electric.com
(Forgive the promotion.)
Hope you get fully powered up again soon!
No. Any ‘negative’ issues in California tend to get overblown, especially if you’re of a certain ideological background. You hear people complaining about the high cost of real estate and taxes, and that they move out. Yet you don’t hear the other side of the story. Who are all these people buying into the California real estate scene? Why are they not scared of paying a little more? Why does California always sit in the top three states for new business creation, if not at the top most years? Who are all these people wanting a shot at the world’s fifth largest economy? So no, we’re fine.
That’s quite a laundry list of screw ups by PG&E you listed there Brian. Of course, many readers will continue to overlook that and place the blame elsewhere. Additonally, not all parts of California are forested, by a longshot. Almost the whole half of southern California has a dry brush issues, which has exactly zero to do with trees.
In your other article about the Tesla solar/battery deal (where you mentioned PG&E continuing to screw us), you had the best solution. If they won’t take responsibilty, you’re on your own. That means solar and battery and a short goodbye, it was nice knowing you, to PG&E
That’s a cool feature of the EU2200 that it has has the option to “chain” a second unit for more capacity. A good option to scale your fuel use, but kind of pricey to get the second gen set.
A valid question. One of the highest income tax states, highest gasoline taxes, homeless rate, old world diseases in LA and now – erratic power.
Question. Do you ever think about leaving California? Just curious as everyone’s situation is different. Living with 3rd world electricity seems annoying. Stop lights, people that need refrigerated medication, elevators, people on powered oxygen supplies. Some things are mere inconvenience while others are deadly.
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