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California HydroElectric Power Plant Will Shut Down For the First time

Officials said that the Water in a California reservoir is expected to fall so low this summer that its Hydroelectric Power Plant will be forced to shut down for the first time. This can cause strain on the state’s already-taxed electric grid.

An unrelenting drought and record heat, both worsened by the changing climate, have pushed the water supply at Northern California’s Lake Oroville to deplete rapidly. Lindsay Buckley,California Energy Commission spokesperson said that as a result of the alarming levels, officials will be forced to close the Edward Hyatt Power Plant for the first time since it opened in 1967. The water in Lake Oroville, the state’s second largest reservoir is pumped through underground facilities to generate electricity, which can power up to 800,000 homes when operating at full capacity.

The water level in the reservoir is hovering around 700 feet above sea level, if it continues to fall at the projected rate to 640 feet there will not be enough water to continue operating the Hydroelectric Power Plant in two to three months, coinciding with the typical peak of the summer heat and wildfire season.Liza Whitmore, Public Information Officer of DWR’s Oroville Field Division said that if the lake levels fall below those elevations later this summer, DWR will, for the first time, cease generation at the Hydroelectric Power Plant due to lack of sufficient water to turn the plant’s electrical generation turbines.

The announcement came as California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide heat wave emergency Thursday, with record setting temperatures and increased electricity use adding pressure to the grid.Newsom’s office said in a press release that amid a major heat wave that is stressing energy grids in states across the western United States, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an emergency proclamation to free up additional energy capacity.California energy grid officials have called on residents to reduce power through Friday, especially during the evenings when electricity use is at its peak. Scaling back on using power during this peak time of the day will help avoid unneeded rolling power outages and damaged power lines.

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