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California on track to meet summer power demand

12 May 2017 17:21 (+01:00 GMT)
California on track to meet summer power demand

Houston, 12 May (Argus) — California will have adequate resources to meet power demand this summer, although concerns remain around the availability of gas supply in southern California.

The summer peak power use is projected to reach 46,877MW, reflecting a 0.6pc increase in demand from the prior year, according to an analysis released by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), developed in conjunction with the state's energy agencies.

In comparison, the peak demand forecast for weather conditions that occur once every 10 years is 48,845MW.

The analysis examined the effect on grid reliability under 2,000 different weather and load conditions.

About 52,785 W of net qualifying capacity will be available this summer, which refers to the amount of capacity that can be delivered, even in constrained transmission situations.

During a normal year, CAISO's operating reserve margin is 19.5pc, higher than the minimum 15pc required by the California Public Utilities Commission under its resource adequacy program.

From 1 June 2016-1 June 2017, approximately 3,090MW of additional power generation is expected to reach commercial operation. Of this, 74pc is from solar generation and 23pc from natural gas. The single largest power generation source in California overall is natural gas, which accounts for 61.1pc.

The analysis does not account for natural gas curtailment risks associated with the restrictions imposed on the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in southern California. The facility, which is owned by the Southern California Gas Company, has been operating in a limited capacity since late 2015 following a significant gas leak.

The state's energy agencies will release a joint report on grid reliability related to the Aliso Canyon facility limitations in late May.