CAL-ISO Sees Large Summer Supply Shortfall

If you think the power crisis this winter has been bad, wait until the summer peak. California Independent System Operator CEO Terry Winter made a shocking presentation to the new governor-appointed ISO board recently, revealing the likelihood of a massive 6,815 MW shortfall of power supply by June.

Should the shortfalls occur, millions of people could face prolonged blackouts. The only possible solutions are conservation and significant demand side management, Winter said. The generation shortfall will be exacerbated by transmission system constraints that restrict the free flow of power to major demand centers.

Winters forecasts possible interruptions this month of 201 MW and then a temporary lull in March and April with no expected curtailments. Peak load in March and April is expected to be 32,203 MW and 31,400 MW, respectively.

Starting in May, a shortfall of about 3,030 MW is expected as demand peaks reach 41,977 MW with a reserve requirement of 2,553 MW. Total available supply is projected to average 41,500 MW in May. And then in June, the shortfall more than doubles with an expected peak demand of 46,488 MW and a reserve requirement of 2,974 MW. Total available resources during that month only grow to 42,647 MW.

New capacity is expected to be adding during June (347 MW), July (1,574 MW), August (2,828 MW) and September (2,975 MW), but hydroelectric limitations are expected to continue. The state is suffering under severe import reductions, which will continue this summer. Winter projects imports will be down 2,000 MW this summer compared to last summer. To make the situation worse, PG&E's entire interruptible load has already been used up.

Winter estimates that California currently relies on 44,050 MW of total installed generation. However, a significant portion of that is not available during any one month because of forced or scheduled outages, hydro limitations or limitations on qualifying facilities.

Of that 44,050 MW, hydro represents about 23.4% or 10,300 MW; QFs, excluding wind, represent 19% or 8,200 MW; Wind represents 0.1% or 200MW; peakers carry 4.4% of the load with 1,950 MW; thermal power such as natural gas fired generation represents 43.1% of the load with 19,000 MW; and nuclear represents 10% of the state's supply with 4,400 MW.

Rocco Canonica

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