The California Energy Commission released its updated electricity assessment for the summer of 2004. Under normal temperatures, the outlook indicates that current supplies can meet peak demand this summer. As positive as this news sounds, analysts still caution that this outlook is based on conditions that could change. For example, a hotter than normal temperature scenario would strain electricity supplies causing operating reserves to decline below the preferred seven percent.
California's Summer 2004 - Electricity Supply and Demand Outlook provides a comparison of electricity supply and demand using a number of assumptions including:
- A larger than expected rebound in economic activity since the beginning of this year played a large role in reassessing increased peak electricity growth from 2.6% to 3.5% for 2004.
- Pacific Northwest electricity imports were reduced because of ongoing repairs of the direct current (DC) transmission line.
- California's hydro electricity generation is about 95% of average.
Both the Energy Commission and the California Independent System Operator remain focused on the reserve margins during the critical summer months. While under normal temperature conditions the outlook indicates adequate statewide reserve margins of 12.2 percent, the reserve margin could decline to 5 percent or less if temperatures in July, August and September soar to 1-in-10 year highs. The report concludes that while rotating outages are unlikely this summer even with hot weather, there could be localized supply disruptions resulting from extreme conditions or equipment failure.
With California's electricity demand growing each year by about 1,000 megawatts, it is essential to continue adding more generation and energy efficiency measures. In the last three years, 8,311 new megawatts of electricity have been added and eight facilities, totaling 3,765 megawatts, are under construction. Eight power plants with a generating capacity of 4,011 megawatts are moving through the Energy Commission review process. California has also added 172 megawatts of renewable energy since last summer, propelling the state closer to meeting Governor Schwarzenegger's accelerated goal of 20 percent of electricity generated with renewables by 2010.
Even with new generation it is important for Californians to continue what they have done each summer - avoid using appliances during the peak hours of 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and setting the thermostat at 78 - 80 degrees when at home and 85 degrees when away.
California's Summer 2004 - Electricity Supply and Demand Outlook can be viewed and printed from the Energy Commission's website at:
Media inquiries should be directed to Claudia Chandler at (916) 654-4989