Climate change won’t stop for the coronavirus pandemic

By Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica


Inevitable climate-change fueled catastrophes such as wildfires and hurricanes will increase the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Climate change has amplified the threats of natural disasters over the years and will prove disastrous as the pandemic rages on worldwide
  • The U.S. National Climate Assessment warned that scientists and officials often fail to consider “compound extremes,” meaning the impact of multiple disastrous events occurring at once
  • There are 25 states at risk for major flooding events this spring. Warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico make it likely that a hurricane will make landfall this summer when we are likely to still be fighting the effects of the COVID pandemic
  • If major events occur that force people into evacuation centers, it will be hard to maintain social distancing and nearly impossible to self-isolate, creating an environment where more people can become sick
  • The economic toll of a disaster during this pandemic can raise recovery costs by the billions
  • States should start planning how to handle a disaster during this pandemic by reviewing preparedness plans and disaster response
  • FEMA has stated that it is working on disaster preparedness during the pandemic, but many people are skeptical that its efforts will be beneficial

Increased air pollution from fires and fossil fuel emissions make all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Community energy resilience means power that is clean and reliable, even in the face of power shutoffs during disasters. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.

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PG&E’s fossil fuel-powered microgrids

by Kavya Balaraman, Utility Dive


  • The towns of Angwin, Calistoga, Placerville, and Grass Valley are part of PG&E’s effort to build a network of “resilience zones” and temporary microgrids in portions of its service territory that are especially vulnerable to fire-related outages. PG&E deployed 23 MW of temporary generation from fossil fuel power (diesel) in the four towns powering fire stations, medical centers, and business districts.
  • PG&E is looking for projects that can deploy between 4 MW and 69.9 MW  for four or five consecutive days without any load drop and be able to meet peak and minimum customer demand throughout that period. Some feel that 100% renewables plus storage is not tenable with these requirements
  • “We think you could do clean energy —​ it’s a mix of generation, batteries and demand response,” Sierra Club’s Amezcua said, adding that PG&E’s plans for its resilience zones needs to be consistent with the state’s air quality and greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.

The Climate Center’s Advanced Community Energy program employs microgrids for resilience and carbon-free power with storage.

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