October 7, 2020 at 4:38 am

A new Energy Information Administration analysis shows that pollution from California’s dreadful wildfires has substantially curtailed solar power generation in the state

By Sandesh Ilhe

From the apocalypse files: A new Energy Information Administration analysis shows that pollution from California’s dreadful wildfires has substantially curtailed solar power generation in the state.

Why it matters: Everything’s connected. The growing wildfires in California — a problem worsened in part by global warming — create complications for one of the power sources that can help fight climate change.

  • And as Energy Impact Partners’ Shayle Kann tweeted, it’s “especially bad news given that wildfire risk is highest in hot weather, when power demand peaks and you need solar the most.”

How it works: Smoke from the fires contains fine particulate matter, a highly dangerous respiratory pollutant that also cuts the amount of sunlight reaching solar panels.

By the numbers: Average utility-scale solar generation in California during the first two weeks of September declined by nearly 30% compared to July’s averages, EIA said.

(The figures apply to solar generation in the jurisdiction of the California Independent System Operator, the grid manager for almost all of the state.)

California's record fire season: "Well over 4 million acres" burned
Firefighters work at a burning property at the Glass Fire in Calistoga, California. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

More than 8,200 wildfires have burned “well over 4 million acres” in California this year, killing 31 people and destroying 8,450-plus structures, Cal Fire said Sunday.

Why it matters: Cal Fire confirmed on Sept. 7 that nearly 2.2 million acres had burned, surpassing the previous record set in 2018. The amount of land charred now is bigger in size than Connecticut and more than double that which burned in 2018, when 1,975,086 acres were razed.


Coronavirus dashboard
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 p.m. ET: 35,686,133 — Total deaths: 1,859,671 — Total recoveries: 24,856,497 — Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 p.m. ET: 7,497,847 — Total deaths: 210,852 — Total recoveries: 2,952,390 — Total tests: 109,646,837 — Map.
  3. Health: Fauci: Up to 400,000 Americans could die of coronavirus without safeguards
  4. Politics: Trump says he will not negotiate on COVID relief until after election — White House physician says Trump reports no COVID-19 symptoms — Biden tests negative for COVID.
  5. Social media: Trump’s infection becomes biggest election storyline — Facebook, Twitter take action against Trump post calling COVID less deadly than the flu.
  6. Cities: D.C. reports most new COVID cases since June amid White House outbreak.
Biden: I think if Trump still has COVID, "we shouldn’t have a debate"
Joe Biden speaking in Hagerstown, Maryland, Oct. 6. Photo: Brendan Smualowski/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden said Tuesday when asked about facing President Trump in the second presidential debate on Oct. 15, “I think if he still has COVID, we shouldn’t have a debate.”

Why it matters: Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus last week. Though he was discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday evening and his physician said he’s not experiencing symptoms, a person can be contagious up to 10 days after the symptoms resolve, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sandesh Ilhe

With an Engineers degree in Advanced Database Management and Information Security, Sandesh brings the deep understanding of the digital world to the table. His articles reflect the challenges and the complexities that come along with every disruption in the industry. He carries over six years of experience on working with websites and ensuring that the right article reaches the right reader.

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