California is considering the use of hydrogen fuel cells to power the state during power shutdowns.
The considered use of hydrogen fuel cells and renewable energy for the state comes after Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced multiple planned power shutdowns.
The San Francisco-based company announced that it will be pre-emptively be shutting off electricity in power lines running through areas which are at high risk of wildfires.
At present, California has responded to the shutdowns through large-scale deployment of diesel generators across the state. The generators may act as a quick fix for the state but also act as a bad source of pollution.
In order to prepare for future power shortages in an environmentally friendly manner, California needs to increase its clean and renewable energy sources, which can be deployed during outages.
Renewable energy such as solar and wind energy can be jointly put in place with other forms of green energy such as hydrogen fuel cells and batteries to ensure continuously available power.
“This is a bold move. We understand the impacts,” said Deanna Contreras, a PG&E spokeswoman.
California is currently seeing hot, dry and windy conditions which act as a trigger for wildfires, PG&E must therefore wait until the extreme weather has passed and the power lines have been inspected before restoring electricity.
The recent closures have led to public panic and a high demand for backup power in California.
“It’s very difficult for our customers to be without power. We know how much our customers rely on electric service and that there are safety risks on both sides.”
“We understand and appreciate that turning off the power effects first responders and the operation of critical facilities, communications systems and much more.”
The regulators who approved PG&E’s first annual, state-mandated wildfire prevention plan and signed off on new standards for one of the utility’s primary strategies – tuning off power lines – must also mandate appropriate steps for clean backup power.