Category — California
“An Energy Imbalance Market would mainly have to rely on cheap hydropower in the Western U.S. to offset high green power prices and high peaker power prices during the sunset hours of the day. Ironically, California banned hydropower as “renewable energy” under the California Global Warming Solutions Act …. Now, cheap hydropower has to come to the rescue of the green power grid.”
California is trying to do a quick splicing job to its green energy grid by creating an “Energy Imbalancing Market” to cut off an emerging daily two-hour energy-pricing crisis. The crisis isn’t so much an imbalance of the availability of electrons but imbalanced electricity prices during the sunset hours of each day.
In today’s California energy market, the grid operator must balance loads and resources within its borders. In an Energy Balancing Market, the grid operator schedules resources across regional balancing authorities to balance energy. An energy imbalance is the difference between live demand and prearranged scheduled resources. California is part of the Western Interconnection Coordinating Council (WECC), which includes 33 control areas shown here. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved California’s implementation of an Energy Imbalancing Market by October 2014.
California’s “Duck Chart” Problem Can’t Be Ducked
An emerging problem with California’s new green power grid is how to ramp up enough conventional power each day when solar power is sunsetting and mostly nighttime wind power isn’t spinning enough yet to take over. [Read more →]
November 13, 2013 4 Comments
- CA’s Green Energy Swan Turning Into Ugly Duckling; $5 Gas in CA? Lack of Cap-and-Trade Price Ceiling Could Bring It;
- Santa Barbara Picks Drilling Over Greening;
- Green Actions Cause One-Third of Human Caused Earthquakes; Study Questions Whether Fracking Causes Earthquakes;
- New Fracking Website Posted Online by Western Petroleum Association
California’s Green Energy Swan Turning Into Ugly Duckling
In the upside down world of California energy, no longer are the hot summer months or the occasional winter cold snap the only peak period of hourly risk to the state’s electric grid. The new daily peak hours of each day from 4 pm to 7 pm during the “shoulder months” of March, April and May and September, October, and November are the new peak month/hour times. What is causing this shift in peak time power is California’s transition to solar energy as the major source of base load power during day. California is in the process of transitioning up too 33%, and eventually to 51%, of its power from green energy sources under the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (also called Assembly Bill 32).
Of particular concern to California’s Independent System Operator (ISO) are three hour periods in the Spring and Fall. It would be the sunset period of each day, not mid-day, that is already beginning to present a critical challenge to the reliability of electricity for customers. The problem during the critical hours from 4 to 7 pm is the steep ramp up of conventional gas-fired power as solar power winds down at sunset. [Read more →]
October 30, 2013 3 Comments
[The following is a weekly digest of California energy news excerpted from Calwatchdog.com. This inaugural report will be followed by updates from the world's 8th largest economy every one-to-two weeks, depending on developments. MasterResource welcomes Mr. Lusvardi to our team (bio below).]
California Dems pass pro-fracking bill; CPUC Blacks-Out Green Power Prices from Consumers; Rooftop Solar to Cost Other Customers $1.1 Billion per Year
A Pro-Fracking Bill Disguised as an Anti-Fracking Bill
Can you imagine California’s Democratic-controlled legislature and Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown passing a pro-fracking bill? Neither could the mainstream media in California that reported state officials had passed an anti-fracking bill on Sept. 20 sponsored by State Senator Fran Pavley (D, Los Angeles County), the leader of the green voting block in both houses of the legislature.
State Senate Bill 4 (SB 4) was reported by green reporter Chris Clarke on his Re-Wire blog at the KCET public television website as requiring: (1) a scientific assessment of fracking, (2) frackers to apply for permits, (3) fracking to continue while state crafts further regulations, (4) fracking permits to be provided to nearby property owners within 30 days; and (5) regulation of injecting acid into the ground, not fracking per se. A legislative analysis of SB 4 can be found here, including a list of those who supported or opposed the bill.
SB 4 was amended ten times. It was opposed by the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, Physicians for Social Responsibility and a number of oil companies and the state Chamber of Commerce. The California League of Conservation Voters and the National Resources Defense Council pulled their support at the last moment when fracking moratorium provisions were removed. Who supported and opposed the bill is not a good indicator of whether the bill was pro or anti fracking. If Republicans had supported SB 4 this would have been a signal for California’s environmentalists to oppose it.
The reality of what SB 4 provided was the opposite of what was reported. [Read more →]
October 5, 2013 3 Comments
“Sadly, the narrative supporting anthropogenic global warming has less to do with protecting the Earth, but more to do with redistributing wealth through climate change policies…. [R]ather than take the indicators’ report at face value, policy-makers would be better served to ask whether the indicators referenced in the report are accurate, relevant to our current environmental remedies and if they provide for reproducible results in the future.”
Will California stay the futile course of warring against the green greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide? Or will the state yield to economic and climate realities?
As country after country and state after state rethink and retreat from public policies to significantly reduce believed-to-be anthropogenic climate change, California is the holdout. Will the Governor, his administration, the Legislature and environmental interest groups listen to actual science or continue to listen to fear mongers.
Such a reconsideration of the failed status quo can begin by critically assessing the Brown Administration’s own assessment of various climate change “indicators.” Simply recognizing the report’s contradictions can inspire a reform effort to stop injuring the world’s eighth largest economy one paper cut at a time.
Governor Jerry Brown has a warning for you: [Read more →]
September 19, 2013 1 Comment
“Two recently approved solar power plants in California ranged from $100 to $200 per megawatt hour, compared to the $16 consumers will pay for natural gas generation. That’s six to twelve times the cost of gas–and for an intermittent supply that must be backed by natural gas to even be usable.”
As states across the nation ponder what to do next on energy policy, there is no case study more important than California. One of the world’s largest economies, with nearly 30 million inhabitants, California for decades has lived on the progressive edge of American energy policy.
The state’s renewable energy mandate of 33% by 2020 has served as a beacon for anti-fossil fuel advocates nationwide. But as I have written elsewhere: “California isn’t a beacon of progress; it’s a lighthouse, showing the path to disaster.” Think of power outages when elevators are stuck, traffic lights go out to snarl transportation, and much more–with human lives, not only human comfort, at the margin.
California’s experience with renewable energy has been far short of what its advocates promised. And, ironically, the drive toward deploying more renewables has only heightened the need to build more fossil fuel generation. Starting to sound more like a warning siren than a clarion call? [Read more →]
July 24, 2013 11 Comments
“We should not be using models to ‘validate’ policy and regulations. We should be using the models to better inform policy debates and avoid picking technological winners and (more frequently) losers.”
California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) put the state on a track rejected by the nation as a whole: a regulatory limit on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This policy, which I have criticized as elitist climate policy postmodernism , is an all pain, no gain policy with high implementation costs.
The result of AB 32, California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), has been debated for six-plus years, including the release of rival studies estimating regulatory impacts. Studies do not debate the climate-change impacts because the answer is … nil.
LCFS requires fuel producers to lower the average carbon content of their products 10 percent by 2020. It is a huge economic variable for the state’s (troubled) economy, and the size of California makes it a national economic issue as well.
A year ago, an oil-industry-backed analysis by Boston Consulting Group estimated that California could lose between 28,000 and 51,000 jobs. The losses included many high-paying skilled manufacturing jobs, as well as indirect job losses due to multiplier effects.
Just last month, a counter study of LCFS was released by ICF that paints a much rosier picture than that of Boston Consulting. The face-value result might not be troubling, but the peculiar assumptions should be. [Read more →]
July 2, 2013 2 Comments
“You don’t want [California's] system with caps, where you have trading, you have derivatives, you have markets that then collapse and don’t actually reduce emissions much. That’s been tried in Europe, and it didn’t do much.”
- James Hansen, quoted in David Baker, “James Hansen Blasts Cap-and-Trade,” San Francisco Chronicle, December 5, 2012.
“Cap-and-trade’s complexity provides a breeding ground for special interests…. Why do those special interests deserve it anyhow?”
- James Hansen, “The People vs. Cap-and-Tax,” New York City, January 12, 2010.
NASA climate scientist James Hansen has long attracted criticism as the progenitor of modern climate alarmism. In recent years, Hansen has been prone to hyperbolic statements against fossil fuels, ignoring the moral imperative for abundant, affordable, and reliable mass energies (called progressive energy by Alex Epstein). Hansen has also engaged in civil disobedience for his wrong-headed cause.
Hansen’s alarmism, and its policy corollary of government-engineered energy transformation, is deeply troubled by three factors as documented by fellow climate scientist Chip Knappenberger:
- Global temperatures are not rising in tandem with greenhouse gas emissions (think global lukewarming);
- Hansen’s “climate dice” can be unloaded; and
- A carbon tax (Hansen’s alternative to cap-and-trade) is climatically useless.
Can James Hansen acknowledge the mere possibility of a benign or even positive human influence on climate? Such would be the beginning of an exit strategy, a soft landing, from what continues to shape up to be a Grand False Alarm. Hansen’s reconsideration, in fact, can begin with his own views of the 1990s on the complexity of his subject matter (see Appendix A).
Three Great Moments
But there is another side to the mad scientist that has interjected realism into the decarbonization debate. Three are mentioned here. [Read more →]
December 21, 2012 5 Comments
“I don’t think it’s the right thing to do to foist onto consumers … 20 to 30 percent higher energy rates in an opt-out program. If people want to spend more money … to buy green energy … that is terrific…. But to coerce them into doing it in an opt-out program … is the wrong approach.”
- Mark Farrell, San Francisco Supervisor, 2012 (quoted below)
Thousands of San Francisco residents may be sucked into a green energy plan that will raise their electricity rates 77 percent without their knowledge or consent. Beginning next spring, half of the city’s 375,000 residential ratepayers will automatically be enrolled in CleanPowerSF – unless they take action to opt out of the program. Eventually the entire city will be enrolled in the program unless they choose to opt out.
Here is the sales pitch of CleanPowerSF:
Currently, you don’t have a choice in how PG&E selects your power. Your PG&E electricity is generated from a portfolio that includes carbon-emitting and nuclear energy sources like natural gas and nuclear power. CleanPowerSF will generate your electricity from a 100% renewable electricity portfolio. CleanPowerSF’s energy mixture will utilize resources like solar, wind, biogas and geothermal power, effectively the cleanest energy available in the United States.
City officials are hoping at least 90,000 households will choose to remain in the program — despite paying an average $18 more each month. That could be a safe bet, because many liberal, wealthy San Franciscans will embrace the opportunity to boast that their power is coming from a clean, green, renewable energy source.
Many residents, perhaps tens of thousands, who could not care less where their energy comes from may be stuck with a 23 percent total rate hike (the 77 percent commodity-charge increase averaged down by unchanged items such as transmission). They would be unaware of the change and not know about their option to get out of it–thanks to CleanPowerSF’s “Do nothing, and you will receive cleaner energy; it’s that simple” siren song. [Read more →]
November 26, 2012 4 Comments
“There is a vast difference between doing the right thing and doing the thing right. In this case, CARB is implementing AB32 in ways that ignore current realities and that likely make matters worse…. It is time for a major reset of the underlying law and its regulatory implementation.” – T. Tanton
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is all-in, damn-the-torpedoes relating to AB 32, the state’s 2006 anti-global warming law, even while acknowledging that it will drive up the cost of energy. CARB chair Mary Nichols confirmed the start of a statewide cap-and-trade auction system November 14 under which industrial firms will buy and sell emission rights for pollutants–despite receiving unrebutted testimony from manufacturers and business owners about the very onerous, and even devastating, impact of moving forward with the auction.
When the California’s Global Warming Solutions Act was enacted in 2006, things were quite different. Electricity prices were being pushed down by the early expansion of natural gas plenty. Other states and nations were considering similar climate change programs, and, in fact, the Western Climate Initiative set up by Western Governors looked to increase trade in emission allowances. Unemployment in the State was at about 7 percent, and the foreclosure debacle hadn’t yet hit (which would drive many cities to the brink of bankruptcy).
The prospect of “leakage” was known, but not the extent. Too much faith was held in the Hobson’s choice of cap-and-trade as opposed to the more draconian option of command-and-control regulation. And finally, national cap-and-trade seemed to be coming.
My how things have changed—except for the commitment to economy destroying state policies. The most notable change is that, nationwide, greenhouse gas emissions have already dropped to 1992 levels, without interventionist policies. California’s carbon intensity has improved 21 percent since the turn of the century. Compare this to AB32′s goal of reaching 1990 statewide emissions by 2020. [Read more →]
October 4, 2012 7 Comments
“In my period at Cato (1990–present), “Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not ‘Green’,” is probably our most important Policy Analysis in the energy/environment area. Bradley’s thorough review and analysis (60 pages, 325 footnotes) was a real pushback against the viability of ‘green’ energy in theory and practice.”
- Jerry Taylor, Senior Fellow and Director, Natural Resource Studies, Cato Institute.
On the fifteenth anniversary of “Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not ‘Green’” (yesterday), I recall, with no little pride, a lot of hard work that went into supplying the author with information about California’s wind and solar experience.
At the time I was working in the belly of the beast, the California Energy Commission (CEC) in Sacramento. The Commission was a major proponent of all things renewable, almost to the point of fanaticism. Well, actually far beyond that point (and that persists to this day), and therein lies a story about how I met a particular Texan and became the silent author of a major public policy study that still reads well today.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, I was fortunate to work alongside Richard Bilas, Vice Chair of the Commission, who was our ‘F. A. Hayek’ (think 1944 and Road to Serfdom). Dick Bilas was schooled in Austrian School and Public Choice economics and a real rarity–a free-market California energy regulator (and not wannabe energy planner).
And the third person in our group was Manual Alvarez, principal advisor to Commissioner Bilas, who actually cared about energy consumers. The three of us were rather wide-eyed at what can only be described as postmodern energy policy, a sort of ‘anything goes and is good if you really want it.’ [Read more →]
August 28, 2012 4 Comments