Solar Eclipse Brings Call to Action From State Energy OfficialsAugust 14, 2017
Everyone is gearing up for the eclipse next Monday, August 21, 2017. We all know that the Pacific Northwest will experience a total solar eclipse and that we’ll have a partial eclipse here in California. Less well known is the fact that we stand to temporarily lose 5,600 megawatts of solar electricity when the moon obscures the sun. A coalition of state agencies is urging residents, businesses, and public agencies to add saving energy to their eclipse plans next Monday morning.
Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP, along with many public agencies, non-profits, and other energy-oriented businesses, has joined the “Do Your Thing for the Sun Partnership.” Sponsored by California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, and the California Independent System Operator, the Partnership members have energy saving plans that that will be deployed during the eclipse. Numerous California cities and counties, big and small, have already joined the partnership, including Santa Rosa, Half Moon Bay, Long Beach, and Lancaster. These local governments have pledged to do their part and spread the word to their constituents.
At SMW, we plan to reduce office energy use during the eclipse by encouraging staff to turn off or minimize use of computers, lights, and copiers wherever feasible. We won’t be charging our phones or other devices or using our heaters (which we often need in San Francisco summers). We are also going to reduce energy demand by taking a break during the peak of eclipse and turning off even more devices.
Individuals and companies can take the Do Your Thing for the Sun Pledge and help reduce their usage at home or at work during the eclipse. And public agencies, non-profits, and other businesses can join the Do Your Thing for the Sun Partnership.
California has a goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030. At the end of 2016, California’s three large electric utilities collectively provided their customers with over 27% of their electricity from renewable sources like the wind and sun. As a result, wind and solar prices have now declined to the point where they have become California’s cheapest and cleanest electricity option. California is also a leader in energy efficiency and demand response. In 2016, California’s energy efficiency programs saved Californians over 1,000 GWhs, resulting in billions of dollars of savings. California’s clean energy economy has also been an engine of jobs creation, with over 500,000 Californians working to install solar panels, make electric vehicles and upgrade buildings with more energy efficient equipment.
Of course, getting out and (safely) watching the eclipse is a great way to reduce your use of the grid. The Bay Area’s Exploratorium has put together a great set of eclipse resources to help with that.
For more information, contact SMW attorney Sky Stanfield.