As part of its Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) process, the California Energy Commission will conduct a workshop to discuss the scope and methodology for a study on Aging Power Plants. The Energy Commission adopts an Integrated Energy Policy Report every two years and updates the report every other year. In the 2003 IEPR, the Energy Commission stated that it would conduct this study as part of the 2004 IEPR Update.
The IEPR process is guided by a Committee of two Commissioners, John L. Geesman, Presiding Member, and James D. Boyd, Associate Member. In preparing for the 2004 IEPR Update, the Committee will conduct a workshop on:
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 2004
CALIFORNIA ENERGY COMMISSION
1516 Ninth Street
Hearing Room A
Note: Audio from this hearing will be broadcast over the Internet.
For details on listening in, please go to: www.energy.ca.gov/realaudio/
In the 2003 IEPR, the Energy Commission noted that reserve margins in the state can be affected by the retirement of older generating units. The report noted estimates of the amount of capacity from power plants projected to retire over the next several years ranging from 4,630 MW by the Energy Commission to 7,232 MW by the Independent System Operator. Merchant generators indicated that as much as 10,000 MW may be retired in the near term. In addition to their capacity contributions toward reserve margins, some of these aging power plants provide important local reliability services.
While the reliability implications of near term retirements of aging power plants raise concerns, the state also faces increasing dependence on natural gas for electric generation. In recent years, increasing volatility in natural gas prices has heightened awareness of California's natural gas dependence. The 2003 IEPR noted that the state could help to reduce natural gas consumption for electric generation by taking steps to retire older, less efficient natural gas-fired power plants and replace or repower them with new, more efficient plants. In addition, the 2003 IEPR noted that the aging power plants are more polluting than modern power plants.
As part of the 2004 IEPR update proceeding, the Energy Commission is undertaking a detailed study of aging power plants to:
- analyze the role that individual aging power plants play in maintaining a reliable power system, including capacity resources and local reliability services;
- examine in more detail the range of retirements that can be anticipated over the next few years; and
- assess the implications of these potential retirements on system reliability and efficiency and the environment.
The Study Process
The Committee intends the March 24 workshop to be the first of a series of public workshops to ensure that interested parties are provided the opportunity to participate in the study process actively. By gaining participation from a wide cross-section of parties concerned about the implications of California's aging power generation sector, the Committee intends to maximize the value of the study.
The staff has identified criteria for selecting the power plants to be included in the group, based on a combination of several attributes, including age, size, capacity factor, efficiency, and environmental considerations. The staff will publish a preliminary list of plants, along with a short paper that describes the selection criteria in more detail, prior to the workshop. The proposed list of power plants is a starting point to use in examining the various issues associated with aging plants.
The workshop will include staff presentations to solicit comments and focus the discussion on four main topics:
- The major issues associated with aging plants that this study will focus on,
- The criteria that should be used to select the power plants for more detailed examination,
- The information and analytical tools needed to adequately examine the issues associated with aging power plants, and
- The methodology to be used in analyzing the potential effects of continued reliance on aging plants.
The Committee is seeking comments on the topics outlined above plus a list of questions contained in Attachment A. The Committee encourages interested parties to present their views either orally at the workshop or through written comments. Parties wishing to comment are requested to contact Matt Trask at (916) 654-4067 or by e-mail at: [email@example.com].
The Committee requests that written comments specifically relating to these workshop topics be submitted by March 29, 2004. Those submitting written comments must provide an original plus 11 paper copies to the Energy Commission's Dockets Unit; however, those who file by electronic mail (Microsoft Word format or Portable Document Format (PDF) (e-mail address: [firstname.lastname@example.org]) need only submit one paper copy. Please include docket number 03-IEP-01 with your filing and indicate ďAging Power Plant Study' in the subject line or initial paragraph of your comments. Please send or deliver materials to the following address:
California Energy Commission
Attn: Dockets 03-IEP-01
1516 Ninth Street, MS-4
Sacramento, CA 95814-5512
Alternatively, participants may provide 12 copies at the beginning of the workshop. All written materials relating to this workshop will be filed with the Dockets Unit and will become part of the public record in this proceeding.
For further information on how to participate in this workshop, contact the Energy Commission's Public Adviser, Margret J. Kim, at (916) 654-4489, toll-free at (800) 822-6228, or email at [email@example.com]. If you require special accommodations, please contact Lou Quiroz at (916) 654-5146, at least five days before the workshop. Technical questions should be directed to Matt Trask at (916) 654-4067, or by e-mail at [firstname.lastname@example.org]. News media inquiries should be directed to Claudia Chandler, Assistant Director, at (916) 654-4989.
Date Online: March 10, 2004
JOHN L. GEESMAN
Commissioner and Presiding Member
2004-2005 Integrated Energy Policy Report Committee
JAMES D. BOYD
Commissioner and Associate Member
2004-2005 Integrated Energy Policy Report Committee
Questions on Aging Power Plants
- Has the Committee captured the issues associated with aging plants that this study should focus on?
- What criteria should be considered for selecting power plants for the study?
- Should certain power plants be included or excluded from the initial selected group for study, and why?
- What information should the Committee consider, and what data should the staff collect, in conducting the Aging Power Plant Study?
- What methodology should the staff employ to assess the role these plants play in the state's power market accurately?
- What policies, plans, and practices are in place that might cause the retirement of these plants?
- What policies, plans, and practices are in place that might cause these plants to remain in operation?
- What are the best means to secure generation capacity, reduce uncertainty from operation, improve resource efficiency, and reduce environmental impacts at these plants?