The California Energy Commission (CEC) on Wednesday indicated there are questions about Southern California’s natural gas storage and pipeline capacity in the latest Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR).
The analysis showed no real changes in the energy reliability questions because of issues at the Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) Aliso Canyon facility, as well as the utility’s transmission pipeline outages and impending closure of coastal gas-fired power plants and the 2,200 MW San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
"Reliability risks remain the same in winter 2018-19 with the possibility of multiple cold days late in winter posing the greatest risk to energy reliability in the region," the IEPR noted. "The SoCalGas system continues to operate at less than full capacity due to a significant number of pipeline outages and continuing restrictions on the use of Aliso Canyon." Four key pipelines continue to be impacted.
"It is difficult for SoCalGas to meet demand through a combination of flowing supplies and stored gas to ensure energy reliability throughout the winter,” the IEPR said.
The CEC also doubled down on lofty mitigation goals aimed at zero carbon emissions. The IEPR calls attention to "how a state with nearly 40 million people will drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” a CEC spokesperson said.
Last year, more than one-third of the state's electricity came from renewable sources, but the updated report concluded more work has to be done. Officials are contemplating significant changes in the way energy is created, delivered and used in light of severe wildfires, rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns.
IEPR covers a broad range of energy topics, including decarbonizing buildings, efficiency, energy equity, integrating renewables, Southern California electricity reliability as complicated by natural gas issues, climate adaptation activities and the California energy demand forecast.
The report noted that California has experienced the impacts of climate change following four straight years of drought and the worst wildfires ever in the past two years. As a result, the IEPR reiterated the need to continue to press forward with goals laid out by former Gov. Jerry Brown that by 2030 half the state’s electricity would come from renewables, petroleum use in vehicles would be reduced by up to 50% and methane/carbon emissions would be cut.
CEC Chair Bob Weisenmiller called for emphasis on "the next frontier, which is zero-emission buildings...California's energy efficiency standards have saved consumers well over $100 billion," but to reduce the need for more power plants and transmission lines, the effort has to be doubled.
California Independent Petroleum Association CEO Rock Zierman said energy policy "affordability and reliability" remain key concerns. He also questioned CEC data, noting the state is "lagging behind" a goal to have five million electric vehicles (EV) on the road by 2030. "It also is a myth that EVs are zero emissions.”