CalISO warns of summer electricity reliability concerns

Although the California Independent System Operator Corp. has forecasted an adequate supply of electricity for most of California in its 2013 summer assessment, the operator has warned the shutdown of the 2,200 MW San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station will continue to raise reliability concerns in southern California.

CISO predicts that reliability risks to southern Orange and San Diego counties will be “marginally more challenging” this summer, but within planning standards. The summer assessment assumes that San Onofre units 2 and 3 will be unavailable, and the operator notes there is no supply coming from Huntington Beach units 3 and 4 following retirement of the units. In addition, CISO expects the electricity peak demand to increase by more than 2 percent compared to 2012.

CISO stated in a release that “heat waves complicated by higher than expected power plant outages in key areas of Southern California or transmission limitations triggered by wildfires or other reasons could challenge grid reliability,” and asks customers participating in local demand response and conservation programs to help reduce their electricity use during the afternoon peak demand created by air conditioning.

Droughts will also have an effect on the power capacity of California, reducing the typical hydroelectricity levels by more than 1,000 MW, CISO stated.

The operator expects system-wide peak electric demand to reach 47,413 MW, an increase of 738 MW from the actual peak of 46,675 MW in 2012. The all-time record peak demand for the state was 50,270 MW in 2006.

The state has 51,068 MW of power plant capacity available this summer, including 2,502 MW of new generation that came online between June 1, 2012 and April 1, 2013. An additional 891 MW of capacity is expected to come online by June 1, according to CISO, which added that 24 percent of the new power plant supply comes from wind and solar power.

Read more new power projects news