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2002 Monthly Electricity Forecast:
California Supply/Demand Capacity Balances for May to December --
Documentation of Baseline Assumptions and Principal Uncertainites

Graphic of Cover of Report Publication Number: 700-02-003F
Publication Date: May 2002

The Executive Summary of this document is available below. The entire report is available as a downloadable Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) file. To download, navigate and print the document, you must have the free Acrobat Reader software available from Adobe Systems Incorporated's Internet site. prined copies of this document can be obtained from the Commission's Publications Office by calling 916-654-5200 and asking for publication # 700-02-003F.

Download 2002 Monthly Electricity Forecast
(Adobe Acrobat PDF file, 30 pages, 322 kilobytes)

Executive Summary

This outlook provides the current Energy Commission staff assessment of available statewide electricity supplies and the likely peak electricity demand scenarios for each month between May and December of 2002. The purpose of this outlook is to illustrate whether the existing system and new capacity additions currently under development are sufficient to serve California's capacity needs under a reasonable set of physical and financial conditions. The staff has been working with stakeholders and the California Independent System Operator staff to refine the baseline assumptions, which are based on the best available data. This outlook is an update of the staff resource assessment that was released in November 2001 (P700-01-002).

In addition to providing the monthly outlook, the report also documents the information sources and assumptions used for the supply adequacy assessment. The report includes information on two key demand uncertainties and one supplyside uncertainty. Overall, this year's electricity demand levels will heavily depend on the degree that observed 2001 conservation patterns are carried forward. The range of this uncertainty is included in the demand assessment scenarios. Since California's summer peak demand is largely a function of air conditioning, several temperature scenarios are also included in the assessment.

Because the report is focused on capacity adequacy, it embodies planning for adverse conditions that might strain the resources of the system. However, it also tries not to be too conservative, because acquiring additional resources to meet extremely unlikely conditions would result in increased costs to ratepayers and potentially create unnecessary environmental impacts.

The Energy Commission staff expects that, under baseline conditions, sufficient resources will be available to meet 2002 statewide peak loads and required operating reserves in the event of a very hot summer (1-in-10 probability). Baseline conditions include the completed construction of new gas-fired and renewable resources. Figure 1 provides a summary outlook for summer 2002.

Demand reductions by California's electricity consumers, new generation sources and mild temperatures averted outages during the summer 2001. Figure 1 shows that the supply outlook continues to be favorable for maintaining reliability this year under normal weather conditions and with the possibility of having a hot summer. The California ISO has a similar 2002 outlook for their control area under normal summer weather conditions. They expect higher operating margins than in recent years. ( Operations Engineering, California ISO, 2002 Summer Assessment - Version 1.0, April 25, 2002.)

According to the California ISO, if there is a hotter-than-expected summer, they may need to rely on increased imports and emergency mitigation measures to maintain required operating reserves within their control area.

Figure 1
California Electricity Outlook for Summer 2002

Figure 1 Graphic

The Energy Commission staff outlook includes 2,586 megawatts (MW) of new generation facilities coming on line by August 1, 2002. August is the period when the California peak demand typically occurs. There will be continued opportunities to purchase additional electricity supplies from western regional spot markets. Finally, system operators will have a sufficient menu of emergency mitigation measures that can be implemented if reserve margins fall below standard operation requirements.


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Page Updated: May 13, 2002