Eclipse will cause substantial loss in state’s solar electricity
San Luis Obispo to ‘power down’ during eclipse
–Hoping residents will also conserve, the City of San Luis Obispo plans to “power down” during Monday’s total solar eclipse in an effort to minimize greenhouse gases that will result from temporarily replacing solar energy.
California is expected to experience a partial obstruction between 9:02 a.m. and 11:54 a.m., with a peak obstruction at 10:22 a.m. During that time, the moon will partially block the sun from the Earth’s view.
That eclipse will obscure between 58 and 76 percent of the solar rays that typically hit California, which will cause the state to lose a substantial amount of solar electricity – 5,611 megawatt drop at maximum eclipse, which is equivalent to the power generated by approximately 6 ½ nuclear power stations. To compensate for that, the state will have to use more energy from natural gas-fueled powered plants, which is expensive, inefficient and contributes harmful greenhouses gasses to the environment.
California leads the nation in electricity generated from non-hydroelectric, renewable energy sources, including wind and solar power. But natural gas-fired power plants still account for more than half of the state’s electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Californians can limit the fossil fuels burned and greenhouse gas emissions by simply using less power during the eclipse. That can include unplugging gadgets and appliances that are not being used (e.g. coffee makers, TV’s, computers) and foregoing tasks that use electricity, like laundry.
The city will take several steps to reduce energy usage, including:
Powering down two pump stations, one in the drinking water system and one in the wastewater collection system while still maintaining capacity to serve the city.
Turning off any equipment and lighting that isn’t necessary to operations at the water and wastewater treatment facilities.
Turning the pool heaters off at its public swim facility (currently undergoing maintenance and closed to the public until August 27)
Turning thermostats in city facilities up by two degrees.
Turning off overhead lighting and using task lighting in city facilities/offices.
Asking staff not to charge or use ancillary equipment, such as phone chargers.
Californians will not experience another eclipse of this magnitude until 2045.