Giving Compass' Take:

• As wildfires rage on, Dan Gearino, at Inside Climate News, discusses the implications of California's blackouts and the transition to clean energy.

• How can we innovate new clean energy solutions to prevent future blackouts? What can you do to support those in the midst of California's blackouts? What can you do to support alternative solutions to wildfires?

• Read more about the effects of California's blackouts from previous summers.

Almost as soon as the first blackouts began in California on Friday, the questions and commentary began about what this might—or might not—mean for the country's transition to clean energy.

Predictably, some said the blackouts showed the importance of natural gas in maintaining a stable grid, while renewable energy advocates contended the power outages had more to do with poor planning by state officials than any shortcomings of wind and solar power.

But this debate is short-sighted. There's no doubt that the electricity system and the entire economy must drastically cut emissions to deal with climate change.

The reality is that grid operators and policymakers already are aware of the tools they need to operate a clean and reliable grid. California is ramping up construction of battery storage systems that can charge during the day and then provide electricity to the grid in the evening when solar power is fading. The state also has an untapped resource in offshore wind, which would provide electricity in many of the hours when solar is not active.

The problem is that it will take years to build enough storage and probably a decade or more to build offshore wind.

So I'm going to focus on a solution that's available right now: "demand response," a catch-all term for technologies and policies that unobtrusively reduce customers' electricity use during times of crisis so that the system remains stable.

Demand response can be as simple as utilities issuing public messages encouraging customers to adjust their thermostats to reduce electricity use.

If entire neighborhoods signed up to participate in demand response programs, grid operators would have more flexibility to make small adjustments, ensuring the grid remains stable.

Read the full article about California's blackouts by Dan Gearino at Inside Climate News.