Friday, February 7, 2014

Calls for conservation in California and Texas - another Capacity Value lesson

If you see the world through "worried about over-reliance on methane (natural gas) and unimpressed by unreliable wind generation" coloured glasses ... this is, again, your week

Already drought-stricken, California's stores of natural gas are also running low leading to calls for residents to voluntarily cut their electricity use.

LOS ANGELES — Water isn't the only resource running short in California. The drought-stricken state is also low on natural gas.
With a move that usually comes in the height of summer when temperatures are soaring and air conditioners blasting, Californians were urged to voluntarily cut their electricity use after frigid weather across the U.S. and Canada caused a shortage of natural gas at Southern California power plants.
The so-called Flex Alert, in which residents are asked to turn off unneeded lights, avoid using large appliances or equipment, and turn off electrically powered heaters, was allowed to expire at 10 p.m. Thursday
Texas wind was dropping as demand rose yesterday
...The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates most of that state's electric grid, asked people to reduce electric use until noon Friday. Peak demand Thursday morning exceeded 57,000 megawatts and could break the record of 57,277 megawatts before Texas' cold temperatures subside, the council said in a statement.
"We are expecting cold weather to continue through tomorrow morning's high demand period, and some generation capacity has become unavailable due to limitations to natural gas supplies,"
The article should have noted that is a winter peak record for Texas - summer is significantly higher.

The article also notes the closed San Onofre nuclear power plant and, "Record amounts of natural gas are being burned for heat and electricity across North America."

Power Magazing lead with the natural gas aspect in Without San Onofre, Drought-Stricken Calif. Is Crippled by Natural Gas Shortage
A natural gas shortage triggered by extreme cold weather in much of the U.S. and Canada has affected supplies to power plants in drought-stricken California and forced the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) on Thursday to issue a conservation alert.

CAISO said the natural gas shortage was only affecting Southern California but appealed to customers across the state to reduce their energy use to help free both electricity and gas supplies for Southern California.
A years-long drought is severely afflicting the state. Nearly 60% of the state is now classified as being in a condition of extreme drought, prompting its governor on Jan. 17 to declare a state of emergency. California has almost 14% of the nation’s total hydro capacity and a 33% renewables mandate, but it has been relying on in-state generators fueled by natural gas and imports of electricity.
But on the main demand side of things ... the situation on the pacific coast isn't helped by the Bonneville Power Administration experiencing near record demand.

Wind generation in the BPA region was dropping
during Thursday's call for conservation
Demand across the Bonneville Power Administration's service territory climbed to around 10,667 MW at 10:35 am EST (1535 GMT), about 80 MW shy of its most recent record, which was set in December 2009.
...Available transmission data shows the Northwest receiving power from other parts of the West to meet the high demand caused by the cold weather....Typically, electricity flows between the two regions move in a north-to-south direction as the Northwest sells excess generation to load centers in California.
The Pacific Northwest is a winter peaking region and during cold spells the region imports electricity to help meet demand.

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