DID YOU KNOW? Bonnie Donovan
Did You know would like to thank the Santa Barbara Police Department for its diligence in locating and arresting the man who allegedly sold fentanyl to the man who overdosed in April in the 100 block of State Street.
After a 4-month investigation, local law enforcement arrested the suspect, and the District Attorney’s Office charged the suspect with murder following the death of one of his alleged customers. We encourage our readers to express their gratitude for both the police and the district attorney’’s office, who were subjected to threats of possible defunding of their agencies, all while both often operating while understaffed.
It will be interesting to see whether the suspect is convicted of murder and what sentence is imposed, compared to murder with a weapon. We won’t be surprised if a plea deal is offered. But hopefully any deal uncovers more suspects and the contacts in Mexico responsible for the trafficking.
When death is caused by the distribution of a deadly substance, we think everyone involved with the manufacture and distribution of this substance should be convicted of murder. We give kudos to the exiting Interim Chief Bernard Melekian who was at the helm during this investigation.
Another heated topic in California this past week was that the electric grid was taxed by the power used to fend off the heat wave of temperatures up to 117 degrees in Sacramento. It’s September. It’s a heat wave. Citizens received emergency alerts and robo calls requesting they limit their use of power during the evening, and owners of electric vehicles were asked to refrain from charging their EVs.
In San Luis Obispo, some restaurants were closed due to power outages, and in Santa Barbara, people lost power during the heat. The city of Carpinteria just announced it has joined a group of auxiliary electricity generators to prevent a grid failure.
Whatever will they do when fossil fuels are no longer available to power auxiliary generators and the energy demands from millions of charging electric vehicles on the grid are twice as many as today? Numerous public agencies and even the main grid operators in California are resorting to diesel generators to prop up California’s inefficient electric grid.
Speaking of electric vehicles and the regulations that outlaw the use of fossil fuels for energy, did you know that California had more than 29 million registered vehicles in January 2022? Did you know that of these, 1.13 million are electric vehicles? The nation’s total registered electric vehicles is 2.64 million, of which 43% are registered in California.
In a population of 39.35 million, most California households have at least one or two vehicles. Imagine what the electrical grid will need to keep these future electric vehicles powered.
Across California, we are again facing warnings of rolling blackouts and pleas to stop using energy during the hottest and highest-risk periods of every day. Here we are, the fifth largest economy in the world, the largest state in the union, and we cannot guarantee to keep the lights on. So much for high-tech California.
Yet we are only 3.8% of the way toward eliminating fossil-fuel-powered vehicles and even less toward eliminating fossil fuel use in industry, commerce, agriculture and homes. Even at this low level of energy source transformation, our power grid cannot cope adequately.
We know that temperatures will continue to rise every year. Has the government not been telling us this for decades? So where is the California master plan for energy security, as the state seeks to eliminate the only reliable sources we already have?
In last week’s column, we predicted an approaching risk of energy starvation in California — something that is already occurring in Europe. The Europeans are warning us. They have moved too far too fast in transitioning to wind and solar without sufficient electric power generation to replace fossil fuels and without the necessary new grid infrastructure in place to efficiently store and distribute electricity from wind and solar to all the points of need.
Did you know that 46.54% of our electricity in California comes from natural gas? And it is cleaner than ever. And 11.4% comes from large hydroelectric plants, 2.18% is from small hydroelectric plants, and 9.38% comes from nuclear power. Did you know that only 13.99% of electricity comes from solar and only 7.23% from wind?
When will we have in place all the building blocks necessary for the efficient, and more than adequate, production of non-fossil fuel electrical energy and the superhighway grids of reliable, and catastrophe-protected distribution, to all points of need?
The answer is never.
What is the plan? Where is the funding? What is the schedule? How does that synchronize in advance, with the order to stop the sale of gas and diesel vehicles by 2035?
Let us use a favorite example of our past and present governors to be our guide.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority was established in 1996. In 2008, Californians voted to approve a high-speed rail link in Proposition 1A for $9.95 billion. Nine billion dollars was allocated to the authority to begin construction, and $995 million was allocated to regional and local connectivity projects.
After massive delays, changes in specification, and huge cost increases, now estimated to be $105 billion, high-speed rail is not expected to be fully operational until 2030. The time projected to build this relatively short rail system is a minimum of 22 years, subject to further change. We already know, by comparison with a statewide electric grid, that something as simple as a desalination plant takes 14 years to build in California.
By contrast, in 1869, America’s 2,000-mile transcontinental railroad was built in six years, almost entirely by hand.
The high-speed railway will be dependent exclusively on renewable energy sources to provide electricity, so, a new, reliable grid will be an essential source of supply. Otherwise, the shiny new high-speed locomotive won’t be so speedy after all. Passengers making round-trip journeys on the train will need reliable stations to recharge their EV’s.
Will all parking lots be EV charging stations? We need enormous changes in design and construction to produce a new grid to handle 100% of all California’s electrical energy needs for the next century, starting now.
A salute and a toast to a great leader and a great lady. Queen Elizabeth II was a true queen. Elegant, strong, intelligent. Defined stiff upper lip. She saw it all — and with grace and decorum. They don’t make them like that anymore. If only we could take a lesson. Rest in peace.
Bonnie Donovan writes the “Did You Know?” column in conjunction with a bipartisan group of local citizens. It appears Sundays in the Voices section.