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Thu Jul 8, 2021, 10:09 PM

Reliability-Wary California Will Procure More Energy Resources to Get It Through Summer

This news item comes from a Trade Journal, Power to which I subscribe, even though I'm not in the power industry.

Stricken by repeated extreme heat events, the prospect of a worsening drought, incremental resource delays, and the “unforeseen” loss of 300 MW in thermal resources, California has set out to secure additional energy resources to ensure reliability this summer.

Responding to a June 29 letter from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Energy Commission (CEC), the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) on July 1 declared a “significant event” and used its backstop capacity procurement mechanism (CPM) authority to issue a solicitation for additional capacity during the months of July, August, and September. However, CAISO officials in a July 2 call suggested the significant event may last through October.

CAISO’s declaration of a CPM significant event is notable because it means the grid operator has determined that current conditions are “materially different” from assumptions it used to determine resource adequacy capacity requirements—and that those conditions threaten the grid’s reliability. While CAISO uses the authority sparingly, it declared a similar event last summer during an intense heatwave when it was forced to implement periods of rotating blackouts in various places throughout the state on Aug. 14 and 15...

...Among the state’s recent efforts to address summer reliability is a Feb. 11–issued decision (D.21-02-028) by the CPUC that directed the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities (IOUs)—Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric—to contract for additional capacity to serve peak and net peak demand this summer. That decision, pivotally, allowed the utilities to source incremental capacity from existing power plant efficiency upgrades; revised power purchase agreements; contracts for generation that is at risk of retirement; incremental energy storage capacity; and “firm” forward imported energy. And while that order did not specify a megawatt procurement target, the CEC said it has “expeditiously reviewed and approved incremental capacity at jurisdictional gas plants to support this procurement...”

...Of most concern is that the West is facing a severe drought that has reduced hydro capacity by about 1 GW, they said. While CAISO in its May-issued 2021 Summer Loads and Resources Assessment (SLRA) warned that hydro conditions would be “below normal,” resource conditions have quickly deteriorated. At Lake Oroville, for example, the state’s second-largest reservoir, water levels have fallen to 30% of capacity, and the California Department of Water Resources warned the water could be so low in a few months that the Butte County reservoir’s hydroelectric generating plant may be forced to shut down for the first time.

The CEC and CPUC also said natural gas power resources have declined. “Due to unforeseen circumstances, at least 300 MW of thermal capacity will not be available this summer,” it noted. At the same time, the state is facing critical incremental resource delays. “The CPUC recently received notice that several will be delayed by one to several months, and in some cases will push online dates past the summer window,” it noted...

Then there's this delicious bit of fantasy:

...The CPUC’s measure last month is partly rooted in the state regulator’s 2020-initiated effort to ensure enough capacity to replace 3,700 MW from natural gas generators, which are expected to retire owing to California’s once-through-cooling rules, and 2,700 MW from PG&E’s two Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors, which are slated to go offline in 2024 and 2025. The CPUC specifically ordered 2.5 GW of zero-emitting resources to replace Diablo Canyon’s generation, along with generation paired with storage, or demand response resources, but it said that all resources that LSEs can procure “will be zero-emitting, unless they otherwise qualify under the renewables portfolio standard eligibility requirements.” That may include 1 GW of new geothermal resources, as well as 1 GW of long-duration (8 hours or more) storage resources, which the CPUC envisioned should come online by 2025. It may also include some biomass...

"Some" biomass. Even if all the forests in California burn outside of a power plant?

The solution: A pile of batteries the size of Mt. Whitney, which should keep our cobalt digging slaves in the "Democratic" "Republic" of Congo, happily employed.

California's energy supply increasingly depends on the weather and lacing the state with copper wires while jaw boning about batteries laced with lithium obtained by mining, cobalt, nickel and/or manganese, obtained by mining, filled with ketones made from pentanone from petroleum or natural gas, and, "imports" of, gas power.

The performance of the CAISO grid is available in real time here: CAISO Today's Outlook

The data is shown graphically, but can also be obtained by clicking on the "download" buttons next to each graphic in the supply, demand, and other headings. This downloads a CSV file (spreadsheet, Excel compatible) showing values in 5 minute intervals beginning at midnight.

I have taken the liberty of doing this as of 17:30 California time for supply, and 17:40 for demand.

Some data, as of 2021, in a year where a town in British Columbia, Canada, caught fire in extreme heat, which is hardly the only disaster connected with this heat wave, where temperatures routinely climbed well above 40C.

The peak demand, recorded at 17:40 PDT (5:40 PM) in California, (the last time point as of my download, which should be very near the predicted peak) was 40,684 MW. At that time so called "renewable energy" was producing, as of 17:30 PDT, (5:30 PM PDT), was producing 11,240 MW of power, dominated by the falling output of solar energy, as the sun falls toward the horizon, which at 17:35, was producing 7697 MW.

The minimum demand for the grid 23,591 MW, recorded at 4:00 PDT (4:00 AM). At that time, so called "renewable energy" in the entire State of California was producing 4,571 MW, dominated by wind power, which at that time was producing, 2,933 MW, assisted by a fairly consistent (throughout the day) 937 MW of geothermal power.

The average power demand up to 17:40 PDT on July 8, 2021 was 30,140 MW

The highest output of all so called "renewable energy" facilities in the State of California was observed at 14,774 MW, observed at 11:55, when the demand in the entire State of California was 32,118 MW. The lowest output for so called "renewable energy" for the entire State of California was observed at 6:00 PDT (6:00 AM PDT), was 3,210 MW, when the demand was 25,202 MW. The continuous average for so called "renewable energy" in California 9,532.6 MW.

The differences in these cases, except for nuclear power and small amounts of (threatened) large hydro, was made up by burning dangerous natural gas, obtained partly by fracking, with the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide being dumped directly into the planetary atmosphere, this after half a century of cheering wildly for so called "renewable energy" in California, this at a time where for a long stretch of time, temperatures greater than 43C were observed in the State.

The peak production of all the dangerous natural gas powered generators in the State of California, was 20,421 MW, observed at 17:30 PDT (5:30 PM PDT). The minimum power production from California's dangerous natural gas plants was 9,177 MW, at 4:10 PDT (4:10 AM PDT). The average power output of the dangerous natural gas plants in the State of California was 12,455 MW. As of 18:55 PDT (6:55) the amount of dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide dumped by the State of California into the planetary atmosphere was 1,952,238 metric tons. Considering entropy, more energy than was produced by burning this dangerous fuel will be required to remove this dangerous waste from the atmosphere. This is a consequence of the laws of thermodynamics, which no one seems to know, at least if you read the crap written by journalists about energy.

Batteries, batteries, hydrogen, hydrogen...Jesus Christ!

The Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, the last nuclear plant in California, due to shut because of appeals to fear and ignorance produced at it's peak today, 2,273 MW. It's minimum was 2,268 MW and its average was 2270 MW. It is connected to the grid with just a few high tension wires, and all of the copper in its turbines, and all of the metals in its magnets was in continuous use, requiring no redundant systems. The physical plant is situated on 12 acres, but the property, mostly untouched marine chaparral, is 750 acres.

In the period between 0:00 PDT and 17:35, a period of 17 hours and 35 minutes, the two small buildings at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant were producing more power than all of the wind turbines, spread over god knows how much former wilderness in the entire State of California, for 12 hours and 40 minutes of that period.

The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant has a thermal efficiency of about 33%. I have convinced myself that nuclear power plants can be designed to equal or exceed the efficiency of combined cycle dangerous natural gas plants, which can run at 60% or higher. Thus a nuclear plant with the same land footprint as Diablo Canyon might be capable of producing 4,500 MW of power, perhaps higher.

This suggests that two such footprints for two such plants could reliably and continuously, without fluctuation, produce as much as the average power produced by all the so called "renewable energy" in California, and that 10 such plants could reliably produce the power peak demand experienced by California on July 8, 2021, without burning a single molecule of dangerous natural gas.

The same media that told you Donald Trump was Presidential material, also reports that anti-nukes are "environmentalists."

We live in the age of the celebration of the lie.

Have a nice day tomorrow.

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Reply Reliability-Wary California Will Procure More Energy Resources to Get It Through Summer (Original post)
NNadir Jul 2021 OP
NNadir Jul 2021 #1
hunter Jul 2021 #2
NNadir Jul 2021 #3

Response to NNadir (Original post)

Fri Jul 9, 2021, 05:18 PM

2. California's goal of going "carbon free" by 2045 is a joke without nuclear power.

On a recent visit to the Sierra the river feeding our favorite swimming spot was shockingly low, as low as it usually gets in late September before California's rainy season begins.

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Response to hunter (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 10, 2021, 12:08 AM

3. Personally, I'm heartily tired and unbelievably disgusted by "by 'such and such year'" language.

I've been hearing it my whole adult life, beginning with Amory Lovins' "by 2000" rhetoric in 1976.

This language is nothing more than an announcement that one is demanding of future generations what one proved incompetent to do one's self.

California will be in even worse shape "by 2045" than it is now, because Californians - and this certainly applies well beyond California's borders to many other regions - did nothing more than lie to themselves.

In 2045, California will be experiencing longer and worse periods of extreme heat than it s experiencing now, along with all the chemical and metal waste of the cockamamie battery scheme, the rotting hulks of wind farms, vast piles of electronic waste from spent solar cells, leachates from the insulation of a unnecessarily vast network of wiring, burned forestests, dried up reservoirs, and yet people are saying that with all this waste and destruction, they'll be "carbon free."

All this will take place because people in this generation said "Diablo Canyon" is "too dangerous," as if all of the above wasn't "too dangerous."

This is a crime against humanity of the future, and in fact, a crime against humanity of now.

Even if people lie to themselves and others, numbers don't.

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