For immediate release: November 20, 2000
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989

California Energy Commission Report Released

Summer of 2001 Electricity Supplies Better Than Expected

Sacramento -- California should have enough power to meet its electricity demand next summer, unless the State experiences extraordinarily hot weather, according to a study released today by the Energy Commission.

"With new resources coming on-line and new conservation measures taking effect, next summer looks better than expected, if we manage our resources properly," said Steve Larson, Energy Commission Executive Director.

The study, prepared as part of a response to legislation enacted in September, quantified the amount of electricity demand and supply expected in the summer of 2001. "We produced this analysis from the ground up," commented Larson. "We looked at every power plant and source of electricity available to the State to give us a realistic appraisal of where we stand for next summer. Energy Commission staff projected expected peak electricity demand using three temperature scenarios."

The analysis indicated that under the "most likely" temperature conditions, next year's electricity peak demand will be 47,266 megawatts, which reflects a reduction of 220 megawatts of demand because of new utility and state energy conservation initiatives. Operating reserve requirements add an additional 2,200 to 3,000 megawatts demand in order to provide a 7 percent margin, raising the generation needed to a minimum of 50,303 megawatts.

If California experiences a warmer than normal summer, the electricity system will require 48,845 megawatts plus operating reserve requirements, which raises the total to 51,882 megawatts. Under this scenario, total expected resources are 52,550 megawatts. Should the State experience extremely hot temperatures, which has a 1-in-10 year likelihood of occurring, 53,104 megawatts will be needed (50,068 megawatts of demand plus operating reserve requirements), with expected resources of 52,190 megawatts.

An additional 1,888 - 3,087 megawatts of potential generation is currently under development and may be available for part or all of the summer.

The Energy Commission's demand forecast takes into consideration expected economic conditions and household growth in the State. These two factors influence demand for air conditioning which drives summer peak demand for electricity. The Energy Commission's staff supply outlook includes existing in-state and out-of-state generation; new power plants expected to be on-line and generating electricity by August 1, 2000; and electricity imports and exports. The supply outlook also includes new renewable energy projects and energy efficiency measures and initiatives made possible by funding under AB 970, which was approved by the Governor in September, 2000.

California's electricity demand is growing at 2 percent per year. To ensure that there are adequate supplies of electricity to meet future demand, it will be important to add new, efficient generation as well as to implement energy efficiency and demand reduction strategies.

Since restructuring occurred in March 1998, the Energy Commission has approved six major power plant projects with a combined generation capacity of 4,708 megawatts. In addition another 15 electricity generating projects totaling over 7,000 megawatts and an estimated capital investment of more than $4 billion are being considered for licensing by the Commission.

The report, Summer of 2001 Forecasted Electricity Demand and Supplies, is available on the Energy Commission's Web Site at:

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