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California Summer Electricity Supplies Adequate Despite Gas Storage Outage, CAISO Says

California's electric grid operator said on Wednesday that summer power supplies should be adequate even after the closure of the state's largest natural gas storage facility in Southern California.

The annual analysis by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) acknowledged that natural gas supplies in the Los Angeles Basin are facing potential curtailments, but peak electricity supplies for the rest of the state are adequate. "The 2016 Summer Loads and Resources Assessment" by CAISO provides an early roadmap for estimating power supply-demand balances.

CAISO referenced an assessment completed last month that predicted as many as 14 rolling blackouts in the LA Basin and surrounding areas due to the closure of Southern California Gas Co.’s Aliso Canyon gas storage facility following a prolonged leak (see Daily GPIMay 12).

"The natural gas issues facing Southern California this summer will require deft management, particularly during hot days when power plants fired by natural gas are needed to meet peak demand," said CAISO CEO Steve Berberich. "CAISO has moved quickly to put into place new mechanisms to reduce the impact of gas curtailments on electric reliability."

Separate from the Aliso Canyon impacts, the statewide outlook for the summer is positive, CAISO said.

Compared to last summer, there is nearly 2,000 MW of additional generation capacity in the state, and a total of 54,459 MW of total capacity in the state with a projected peak capacity this summer of 47,529 MW. Last summer's peak capacity was 47,257 MW. California's all-time peak (50,270 MW) was reached during a heat storm in July 2006.

"Continued moderate peak demand growth, combined with new power plants coming online and improved hydroelectric generation conditions, will support possible extreme operating conditions [this summer]," CAISO said.

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