By Paulina Firozi | The Washington Post
Take your pick: Blackouts or wildfires.
That’s the grim choice many in California are fearing as the state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, says the effort to proactively shut off power to prevent wildfires could continue for a decade.
But as fires roar across the state, some local leaders are eyeing ways they can become less reliant on PG&E’s vulnerable grid system that’s to blame for igniting some of the deadliest blazes in state history.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D) is proposing numerous alternatives that include building “microgrids” — smaller grid systems that can collect, store and supply power locally — and expanding the use of solar power. These are measures that could help California residents keep the power on during outages as the state simultaneously moves toward climate goals by reducing contributions to climate-warming emissions that can help fuel these very wildfires.
Liccardo announced last week that the city would receive $500,000 from the state to help cover costs associated with the power outages — and he wants to use some of that money to build up microgrids in San Jose.