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The Power in Question

By Datta Khalsa, Broker

The new electric age is upon us, with more and more EVs passing us on the roads every day, and electric appliances making a resurgence in houses like we haven’t seen since the early 1960’s.

Through first-hand experience in the real estate investment fund I help manage, I have been able to participate in many of the changes that are being made to the infrastructure to meet current and anticipated trends, as policies are implemented with an eye towards mitigating our reliance on greenhouse gasses.

The townhouse development we are funding in Aptos is entirely electric, and it doesn’t stop at the garages and driveways where the EV chargers await you when you come home. Up on the roofs you will see solar panels getting installed, to help power the internal systems of the home. Sadly, it appears the rates homeowners earn for putting power back into the grid is being decreased with new legislation, but at least you will get to keep your costs down.

The water heaters are all electric, and the central forced air heating systems are powered by electric heat pumps, while in the kitchen, cooking with gas is quickly becoming a thing of the past—at least at home. (It’s almost unthinkable, but I’m curious if restaurant kitchens will eventually follow suit over the protests of traditional chefs everywhere).

In other news, the large tract in Blythe that our fund had initially backed to sell as an entitled cannabis production plant has pivoted, and the property is now in escrow with a company with an application to build a commercial and private vehicle charging facility, with 20 car stations and 72 truck stations slated. I haven’t seen one of those self-driving Tesla semi-truck trailers on the road yet, but no doubt with all this infrastructure going in, it’s just a matter of time.

Much of these changes are mandate-driven, as homeowners in increasing numbers of counties are starting to discover when they go to replace their gas furnaces that they now have to replace them with an electric heat pump. And the 2035 deadline per the statewide legislation that all new vehicles be powered by either electricity or hydrogen is looming closer every year.

With California experiencing more rolling blackouts in recent years, it begs the question of how much reliance we are starting to have on electricity, and many are wondering what will become of our independence if we can’t make improvements to our power grid. The race is on, with a team at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility successfully containing a nuclear fusion reaction earlier this month in a test that produced more energy than was used to create it for the first time ever.

Being an optimist by nature, I believe that our future will ultimately be a positive one, despite the inevitable missteps made along the way. The key is in making the right choices as to ensure at least our quality of life doesn’t suffer as we go along in the midst of all these well-intended ideas.

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