Rising Energy Use and Reaching Record Highs: Navigating the Heat Wave Hitting the West

Lillian Ferrell, Staff Writer

Residents of Reno, NV are experiencing record high temperatures this week, September 4th-10th, resulting in a strain on the local power grid, as households rely more heavily on air conditioning and household appliances. According to recent data, Reno reached the highest temperatures it has experienced in a century, with a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday, September 7th, and a temperature of 106 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday, September 6th.
The severe heat wave hitting the Sierra Nevada region has resulted in a significant increase in the amount of power used, leaving power companies such as NV Energy scrambling to accommodate greater customer reliance on renewable energy systems. Reports from this week recorded a whopping 52,061 megawatts of energy being used within the state of California, which is significantly higher than the record high previously recorded in July of 2006 reaching 50,270 megawatts of power. Such a drastic increase in power consumption within a limited time frame is likely to result in power outages and blackouts across the Western region if Americans are not mindful of the facilities they are using.
CEO of Baywa Power Solutions Bradley Ferrell sheds light on the projected impacts of rising temperatures on the renewable energy industry stating, “The continued climate volatility will cause global energy prices to rapidly increase to unprecedented levels as demonstrated this summer in all major continents. This will drive consumers both commercial and residential to adoption of alternative forms of energy like renewable.” With renewable energy being looked to as a preferable form of energy system amid severe climate conditions, it is likely that there will be a rise in green energy sources within the state alone.
As power companies and government officials navigate the ongoing crisis, hoping to avoid further outages or cutting power in specific regions, statements have been issued by leading energy providers to remind residents to turn off “non-essential power” as soon as possible. In addition to California Gov. Newsom’s government issued alert this week regarding the conservation of power, NV Energy urged customers to take precautions to save energy such as adjusting their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoiding using electrical appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers, turning off pool pumps, unplugging unused appliances, and even refraining from charging electric vehicles.
As Reno residents navigate the situation, it is important to remain safe amid record breaking temperatures by staying indoors and remaining adequately hydrated in addition to being mindful of energy consumption to ensure that the local power grid is not severely impacted by greater energy use. Taking precautions such as the measures suggested by NV Energy can protect against blackouts in the Northern Nevada area, keeping citizens as safe as possible throughout the current heat wave.