For Immediate Release: May 13, 2009
Media Contact: Susanne Garfield - 916-654-4989

New Generation Adds Electricity to Supplies

SACRAMENTO -- California's consumers can expect adequate electricity this summer according to a California Energy Commission analysis in the Summer 2009 Demand and Supply Outlook.

Although the snow pack and forecast runoff averages are still below normal, there is sufficient hydroelectric to meet peak power loads even with hotter-than-average temperatures.

"California is in a healthy position this year to meet summer's peak electricity demand," commented Melissa Jones, California Energy Commission Executive Director. "It is, however, essential that we add new generation to keep pace to meet the state's peak demand needs."

The Summer 2009 Outlook provides the state's electricity supply and demand using a number of assumptions including:

  • Lower projected growth in peak demand for electricity is lower under average and high temperatures reflecting the current economic downturn.
  • Newly added 1,419 megawatts of generation are operating for this summer.
  • Ample reserve margins that help buffer the critical peak demands.

The Energy Commission and the California Independent System Operator remain focused on the reserve margins or "buffer" during the critical summer months that require 15 to 17 percent additional supplies above expected peak. The Summer 2009 Outlook indicates that reserve margins are higher than last summer and under average temperature conditions are expected to be between 23 to 35 percent. More importantly, if temperatures in July, August and September soar to unusually hot conditions, the monthly reserve margins should still be 16 percent to 22 percent. The report concludes that these reserve margins should provide sufficient resources to cover most contingencies and while rotating outages are unlikely this summer even with hot weather, there could be localized supply disruptions resulting from extreme conditions or equipment failure.

Even though California's electricity demand has been slowed by the economic downturn, it is essential to continue adding more generation and installing energy efficiency measures. Over the last three years, 2,807 new megawatts of electricity have been added and six facilities, totaling 2,376 megawatts, are under construction, including a solar hybrid facility. Twenty-four power plants with a generating capacity of 10,561 megawatts are moving through the Energy Commission review process.

Of these projects in review, seven are solar thermal facilities totaling 2,595 megawatts. If approved and constructed, these facilities will help California move closer to meeting Governor Schwarzenegger's accelerated goal of 33 percent of electricity generated with renewables by 2020.

Regardless of the added generation, Californians should to continue what they have done each summer - use energy smartly to save money.

For consumer tips about how to save energy and money, visit the Energy Commission's Consumer Energy Center at

The Summer 2009 Electricity Supply and Demand Outlook is available online at (PDF file 2.5 megabytes)

Created by the Legislature in 1974, the California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. The Energy Commission has five major responsibilities: forecasting future energy needs and keeping historical energy data; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency through appliance and building standards; developing energy technologies and supporting renewable energy; and planning for and directing state response to energy emergency.

Members of the Energy Commission are Chairman Karen Douglas; Vice Chair James D. Boyd; and Commissioners Jeffrey Byron; Dr. Arthur H. Rosenfeld and Julia Levin.

More information about the California Energy Commission is available at:

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