California drought could lead to electricity shortages


Trees are blossoming early in California. San Francisco had its warmest and driest January on record. A continuing California drought means reduced hydropower, something California relies upon for electricity.

Water power, not coal and not nuclear power, generates most of California’s electricity, including the power that runs everything from air conditioning to BART. Even the San Francisco cable cars run on electricity generated by the Tuolumne River.

This article overstates the amount of hydropower in California, which is about 14% of total power generated, with 70% of that generated in-state. However, it is essentially accurate. San Francisco might well have a higher percentage of hydropower than other areas. A continued drought with reduced water flows could easily lead to electricity shortages and blackouts.