No State Imports More Electricity Than California
California has taken bold action by shuttering its coal plants, planning to shut down the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant so it can increase its share of renewable energy, or that’s what the Greenies out there want to believe. In reality, the Golden State simply imports electricity generated by coal, natural gas, and nuclear facilities from Arizona and Nevada and pretends they are “green energy” leaders.
In fact, no other state imports more electricity than does California.
California imports so much electricity because it simply cannot provide for itself in terms of electricity generation, at least not at the lowest cost. The graph below is from Electricity Map, and it shows electricity generation by source on April 3, 2019 in California. The orange section represents solar, the blue hydro electric, light blue, wind, green, nuclear, red natural gas, and the brown section is imported electricity.
As you can see, imports fall when it is sunny out, and increase again when the sun goes down. It just so happens that the sun wasn’t shining when the demand for electricity in California was highest. California’s policies promoting renewables at the expense of dispatchable generation place it in an odd predicament, it must pay other states to take the excess electricity generated by renewables when their generation is high, and it must also pay other states for their power when renewable generation is low.
It’s important to note that renewable energy is often peddled as a means of “becoming energy independent,” especially in states like Minnesota where we must import all of the coal and natural gas used to generate electricity. We see here from California that those arguments aren’t necessarily true.