David Walters Opinion on California’s Energy Future

Opinion: Diversification and storage capacity critical to California’s energy future

The Golden State energy market has never been more complicated than it is today, and California businesses and manufacturers are the unsung heroes of a tumultuous year – operating amid rolling blackouts, skyrocketing energy prices, complicated use tariffs, and astronomical upfront costs for infrastructure improvements.

According to a recent report by the California Center for Jobs & the Economy, California’s higher electricity prices translate into commercial and industrial ratepayers forking over $11.6 billion more than ratepayers elsewhere in the US using the same amount of energy for the last twelve months that ended in July 2020.

As noted in the report, “In a system defined by regulation and guided less by costs to households and employers, the latest data indicated the total bill continues to grow.”

Still, there is hope.

As the birthplace of innovation, California is home to trailblazing companies that are investing heavily in bringing new technologies to the market that help businesses meet energy demands with greater reliability while reducing overall costs.

We’re now seeing emerging technologies such as onsite systems that combine generator design and manufacturing, emissions control technology, electric load and tariff analysis, generator dispatch algorithms, real-time energy and demand charge management, and remote monitoring and telemetry – all while allowing users to lower their emissions, decrease their carbon footprints and maximize energy efficiency.

With wildfires this year ravaging local economies and leaving businesses without power, we must be relentless in our pursuit to integrate onsite energy generation into California’s energy portfolio. We have no other choice.

California’s effort to transition exclusively to renewable energy has left millions without power – chasing an unreliable energy source that cannot supply enough continuous power to meet demand when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining. While it’s a laudable long-term climate change goal, we must be realistic in what can be accomplished.

Ultimately, any long-term solution must include diversification in California’s energy sources that complement one another and incorporate decentralized energy generation and storage capacity. It’s the only way to truly ensure long-term energy stability and affordability.

As a California business owner, I believe these new innovative energy technologies can help put our darkest days behind us. I encourage California’s regulators and legislators to support policies that pave the way to integrate these technologies into California’s energy solution.

We must begin having a thoughtful and realistic conversation about ways to address rolling blackouts, reduce carbon emissions, and help California’s business and manufacturing industry keep the lights on.

David Walters is chairman and CEO of Leading Edge Power Solutions (LEPS) – a California-based company delivering clean, dispatchable, behind-the-meter natural gas fueled power to California businesses and manufacturers.

**Originally published on The Orange County Register

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