Blackout summer bummer?

BlackoutApril 21, 2013

By John Seiler

All California’s anti-energy activism might take a toll this summer with potential blackouts like we had back in 2000-01 during the California Electricity Crisis. The San Onofre nuke plant is down. Hydro power is down. AB 32 and other regulations discourage building non-renewable power plants, such as those running on natural gas. Bloomberg reports:

“The California Independent System Operator Corp. said last month that managing the state grid, especially in parts of Southern California, will prove “difficult” because the system will be operating without Edison International (EIX)’s San Onofre nuclear power plant and two natural gas-fired units, while hydroelectric output will be at a three-year low. The nuclear plant, California’s single largest source of baseload power, accounts for 3.7 percent of the state’s capacity.

“Southern California wholesale electricity for July through September already is at the highest level for this season since 2008 on the outlook for a shift to costlier, more volatile fossil fuels. A strain on the grid could lead to power failures reminiscent of the state’s worst energy crisis in 2000 and 2001, when generation shortfalls and market manipulation by traders at companies including Enron Corp. sent prices to record highs and triggered blackouts that affected millions of customers in the most populous U.S. state.”

Actually, although Enron certainly was culpable, a bigger cause of the shortages was the phony 1996 “deregulation” of the electricity industry, which ever since has been held up as a failure of free markets. Actually, there was no “de-regulation,” only a different, and worse, form of regulation. Another cause was Gov. Gray Davis, who in the middle of the crisis in Oct. 2000 actually took a month-long vacation to “study” the crisis. When he came back, he panicked and made everything worse.

Now, it looks as if environmentalist extremists will have their way and send us back to the Stone Age.

My advice: Buy a lot of candles.

3 comments

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  1. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 21 April, 2013, 11:29

    The irony…..the greatest agglomeration of high technology in human history……dependent on an electrical backbone that will, with implementation of AB32, have all the reliability of Jamaica’s.

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  2. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 21 April, 2013, 11:39

    We all know what will happen when the Jerry Brownout’s occur. The ProgBots and their media allies will blame it on some scapegoat. The idiot residents of the state will then dutifully blame the scapegoat. The real problem will go unsolved and get worse. Wash, rinse, repeat ……..

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  3. Itachee
    Itachee 22 April, 2013, 06:50

    Excellent article. And the impending power shortage is on track to get worse. Another Calwatchdog article a few weeks ago pointed out that all remaining power plants on the coast, some 17 or so gas fired plus PG&E’s Diablo Canyon, are being required to replace their sea water cooling systems with cost prohibitive air cooling or shut down in something like 3-5 years.

    And there’s even more to the story. California has several pumped storage hydro generation projects that are vital to meeting the state’s peak daily power needs. These include SCE’s Balsam Meadows and PG&E’s Helms projects, about 2,000 MW each, which were designed to use surplus nuclear power available overnight from San O and Diablo to pump water back up the hill. Without that overnight surplus nuke power pump back operations must rely on alternative sources, usually gas fired – see above. A true domino effect.

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