Library filed under Energy Policy from California
Some utility officials warn, however, that the only guarantee is that ratepayers will be spending a lot. The commission's goals, while laudable, "could cost up to $3 billion with uncertain net benefits for customers," Southern California Edison declared in a filing. But regulators are desperate to move past the status quo. Already, power grid operators in some states have had to dump energy produced by wind turbines on blustery days because regional power systems had no room for it. Officials at the California Independent System Operator, which manages the grid in California, say renewable energy producers are making the juggling act increasingly complex.
"Suddenly, you look up and there are literally hundreds of millions of dollars going into investments that produce marginal benefits," said state Sen. Rod Wright (D-Inglewood), a member of the Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee. "You know the tale of Robin Hood? Well, this is robbing the 'hood," he said. "You are taking from poor people to give to rich people." ..."We are moving in the direction of spending $2.5 billion per year on energy efficiency and alternative-energy programs."
It is challenging for Cal ISO to manage the big swings in solar and wind power due to intermittency. Solar power spikes when the sun rises in the morning and throughout the afternoon, but drops at night, while cloud cover and other variables can also affect it. California’s wind resources climb in the evening but fall in the morning, he said. Cal ISO has been increasingly forced to ramp up power — on Sept. 30, 2013, for example, it spiked power by 6,500 MW in a three-hour period. By 2020, the ramps will more than double to 13,500 MW, he predicted.
The report forecast that in 2020, the policy of "net metering" would cost $1.1 billion a year. It will shift about $359 million in costs a year from customers with solar panels to other ratepayers. Residential customers who have no solar panels would bear about $287 million of those costs.
Starting in a couple of weeks, the hundreds of companies subject to California's strict curbs on greenhouse-gas emissions will have a new way to meet the regulations. They'll be able to buy "offset" credits generated by dairy farms and others who have managed to reduce their own carbon emissions.
Though the Obama administration has recently renewed its commitment to approve more wind facilities on public lands as part of the Climate Action Plan it released this week, a new study indicates that wind development in California has far fewer benefits than it does elsewhere in the United States.
In short, California Democrats are proving that the real point of cap and trade is to give politicians another revenue stream for income redistribution while dodging accountability for raising taxes. That's worth keeping in mind when liberals resurrect the scheme for the entire U.S.
Many city representatives say that they are unlikely to give any go-ahead that would effectively enroll customers, who would have the option to opt out, without seeing final rates and having a clearer idea of where the program will get its electricity and how green it will be. ...Benefits, including local energy projects that could create jobs, are "intriguing," Kyes said. "But there really isn't any information yet that shows that's more than talk."
The upshot is that millions of Californians could soon experience power outages. As the state derives more of its electricity from renewables, it needs more "peak" gas-fired plants that can ramp up to meet demand when the sun isn't shining and wind isn't blowing-namely during dawn and dusk. Otherwise, rolling blackouts could ensue. Nobody knows exactly how much flexible power is needed to ensure a reliable electric supply.
San Francisco is about to find out how much it costs to be clean and green. After years of study and initial approvals, city residents will learn the price of a new energy diet, one that promises electricity from only renewable sources.
The utilities have warned that the push to buy renewable power will raise customers' bills. PG&E, for example, estimates that renewable contracts will add about 1 to 2 percent to bills each year through 2020. ...Long-term power purchase contracts with wind farms, solar plants and other renewable energy facilities averaged 9.9 cents per kilowatt hour.
This useful report prepared by the California Public Utilities Commission for the Legislature examines the high cost of California's renewable portfolio standard which mandates 33% of the state's electricity needs come from renewable energy.
In the latest demonstration that politicians and regulators are unqualified to operate an economy, utility executives are yet again worried about blackouts rolling across the state, this time because California's expensive rush to install wind and solar has left it dependent on renewable energy that is inherently less reliable.
Economists are more skeptical about the long-term benefit to the county. They point out that solar and wind farms bring in an initial boom of constriction jobs, but require very few workers once they're up and running. The five projects being built in Imperial County will generate 1,946 temporary construction jobs but only 71.5 permanent ..."Once you build them you don't need many folks to maintain them."
California is weighing how to avoid a looming electricity crisis that could be brought on by its growing reliance on wind and solar power. ...the surplus generating capacity doesn't guarantee steady power flow. Even though California has a lot of plants, it doesn't have the right mix: Many of the solar and wind sources added in recent years have actually made the system more fragile, because they provide power intermittently.
The power they produce can suddenly disappear when a cloud bank moves across the Mojave Desert or wind stops blowing through the Tehachapi Mountains. In just half an hour, a thousand megawatts of electricity can disappear and threaten stability of the grid. To avoid that calamity, fossil fuel plants have to be ready to generate electricity in mere seconds.
If you thought your monthly utility bills were high now, just wait. According to the nonpartisan Little Hoover Commission's report, "Rewiring California," ratepayers face soaring electrical bills because of the move toward adding more solar and wind energy to the power grid.
This report by the California Milton Marks “Little Hoover” Commission, an independent state oversight agency, calls on State leaders to direct the state’s energy organizations to assess the cumulative impact of recent major energy-related policies on electricity rates and reliability and whether these policies are achieving California’s energy and environmental goals. An excerpt of the executive summary is provided below. The full report can be found by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.
A low price for credits and minimal demand for future offsets suggest California will see a mere fraction of the $1 billion that Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers estimated the state would receive this fiscal year. If demand remains similar in two forthcoming auctions, the state would generate only about $140 million.
Barbara Boyle, a senior representative at the Sierra Club's regional field office in Sacramento, says Ivanpah could have been located at any number of other locations where it would have had less impact on the environment and the tortoises that live there. Boyle says there are multiple areas in Southern California, including old dried-up agricultural lands and mining areas, that would have been more suitable.