by Tyler Durden
One of California’s most important hydroelectric power plants is in danger of closing for the first time in five decades as water levels continue to fall.
Severe drought and scorching heat, exacerbated by the effects of La Nina weather, have depleted some of the water supplies in Lake Oroville in Northern California. Current water levels in the lake are about 700 feet above sea level, but if 640 feet are breached, officials will likely have to shut down the Edward Hyatt power plant for the first time since it opened in 1967, California Energy Commission spokesman Lindsey Buckley said. CNN.
The lake’s record dip is 646 feet, and the state’s Department of Water Resources expects that level to be observed in August.
Earlier this month, at least 130 boats were afloat evacuation from the lake as the water level continues to drop. As a result, it will not be possible to access any low ramps or boat ramps.
Moreover, if the Hyatt plant is closed, hydropower generation for the state grid will be affected. At full capacity, the station can occupy up to 800,000 homes.
“If lake levels drop below those heights later this summer, DWR [California Department of Water Resources] “Generation will be halted for the first time at the Hyatt Power Plant due to a lack of sufficient water to power the plant’s power turbines,” said Lisa Whitmore, DWR’s Oroville Field Division Communications Officer.
2019 Lake Oroville
2021 Lake Oroville
The closure of the plant will mean that the state electricity companies will have to supply electricity from elsewhere to fill the void.
Lake Oroville is also a natural attraction that sees at least one million visitors each year. Without visitors enjoying boating parties, ice skating, or relaxing in the sun, the local economy could be dealt a severe blow as it tries to recover from the virus pandemic.
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide heatwave emergency Thursday, with much of the state experiencing record temperatures and high energy use straining the grid.
“Amid a major heat wave stressing state power grids across the western United States, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed an emergency declaration to free up additional power capacity,” Newsom’s office said in a press release.
The good news is that Oroville won’t have a spillover crisis anytime soon as drought sweeps across the region. However, the federal government can soon Announce The first ever water shortage is in the coming months, which will reduce water use in many western states.