It's been widely reported that to mitigate the risk of power lines sparking wild-fires in California, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the largest utility in California, has been preemptively de-energizing power lines that run through fire-prone areas. This article from the LA Times gives a figure of 850,000 customers expected to lose power over the weekend.

However, an op-ed on the Epoch Times posits that there may be an alternate reason for the power cuts (emphasis added):

By 2018, the state’s renewable portfolio had jumped to 43.8 percent of total generation, with wind and solar now accounting for 17.9 percent of total generation. That’s a lot of power to depend on from inherently unreliable sources. Thus, it would not be at all surprising to learn that PG&E didn’t stop delivering power out of fear of starting fires, but because it knew it wouldn’t have power to deliver once high winds shut down all those wind turbines.

The background explained in the article is that above a certain wind speed, wind turbines are shut down because they can no longer be controlled to the correct speed for electric generation (this is referred to as the cut-out speed).

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    No notable claim. "it would not be at all surprising to learn..." is exactly the sort of weasel wording writers use to make readers think something is true, but when their allegation is found to be completely unsubstantiated lets them say "I never claimed that." – DJClayworth Nov 4 '19 at 14:20
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    That seems like a shaky claim, just looking at the numbers. They point out that 17.9% comes from wind and solar. Assuming they mean wind and solar combined make up 17.9% of the generation, losing wind generation due to high winds is what, like a 10% hit? To me, it really doesn't make any sense that losing ~10% of generation capacity is enough for them to start cutting power. It really doesn't fit with what I understand about power generation. Worth noting that the article author is with the Heartland Institute. It seems like a really weak jab at renewables to me. – JMac Nov 4 '19 at 14:20
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    Also California is part a nation energy grid. Even if every single renewable resource were shut down, power could be bought in from outside the state. – DJClayworth Nov 4 '19 at 14:22
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    @DJClayworth Yeah, exactly. It just doesn't even remotely add up with how power grids work. It sounds like someone read about the lines being de-energized and then just thought "How can we make this look bad for renewable energy?" knowing that people will believe it if it fits their narrative. – JMac Nov 4 '19 at 14:26
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    @LShaver Without any actual sources, it would be a very poor answer that would deserve deletion. I have a fairly basic knowledge about power generation, so I can only point out why it really stinks to me. At very least though, my unreferenced comments seem to have as much support as the op-ed piece, so I feel it is fair to leave them as comments here. – JMac Nov 4 '19 at 14:47

Unsurprisingly, given that it is from the Heartland Institute, it appears to be wrong. Looking at 2018 government data (note: Excel file), electricity generation in California is 30% greater in July (air conditioners?) than in September and October. So a 10% or even 17% drop in generation capacity should not create a shortfall in supply, as long as there were adequate amounts in July. In the table below, which is just filtered from the link above, the second column is Month and the last is MwH.

Excel table, filtered from source linked above

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