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State energy, water, and air quality leaders at a public workshop Energy Agencies Collaborate on Southern California Electricity Plan

Proposed Solutions Presented to Ensure Grid Reliability


To help fill the energy gap left by the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (San Onofre) and the planned retirement of once-through cooling power plants, state energy, water, and air quality agencies have prepared a plan to ensure the continued reliability of the Southern California electricity grid.

The Draft Preliminary Reliability Plan for LA Basin and San Diego outlines short- and long-term energy needs and mitigation options for Southern California. Staff from the Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, and California Independent System Operator presented the plan at a public workshop in September.

San Onofre supplied approximately 16 percent of the local electricity and generation supply to an average of 1.4 million San Diego and Los Angeles homes. It provided critical voltage support needed to move electricity into the San Diego region. Upcoming closure of several once-through-cooling gas-fired plants for environmental reasons adds to reliability concerns.

Despite these significant challenges, a unique opportunity exists to secure preferred resources to make up the supply difference, namely demand response and energy efficiency. The plan specifies that 50 percent of the replacement power will be met by preferred resources such as demand response and energy efficiency. The remaining replacement power will come from conventional resources such as natural gas power plants and additional transmission infrastructure. Careful monitoring is critical to ensure these urgent actions are underway. The plan includes alternative solutions that will be triggered if milestones are not met.

Agency leaders are reviewing public comments on the plan, will revise it accordingly, and work with the Governor's Office to put the plan into action.

Photo above: Agency leaders attend the Southern California Infrastructure and Electricity Reliability workshop at the California Energy Commission in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, September 9, 2013.

From left-to-right:
Dr. Barry Wallerstein, South Coast Air Quality Management District Executive Officer;
Steve Berberich, California Independent Systems Operator President and CEO;
Michael Picker, Senior Advisor to the Governor for Renewable Energy Facilities;
Felicia Marcus, State Water Resources Control Board Chair;
Andrew McAllister, California Energy Commission Commissioner;
Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board Chairman;
Robert B. Weisenmiller, California Energy Commission Chair;
Michael Peevey, California Public Utilities Commission President;
Mike Florio, California Public Utilities Commission Commissioner.