A combination of continued robust economic growth throughout theWest and dwindling supplies from out of state will make blackoutsin California more likely next summer, the CEO for the state’sindependent transmission grid operator (Cal-ISO) told theorganization’s board Wednesday.

Currently the ISO board forecasts a generation shortfall of5,000 MW for summer 2001.

Even conservative statistics cause Cal-ISO’s Terry Winter tothink shortfalls will be much more significant next year in theface of summer peak demands, which could be up to 4,000 MW largerthan this summer, which he reminded the board was not a “hot”summer by traditional definitions, despite a record number of Stage1 and 2 alerts through August.

“When you look at everything, you very quickly get to about50,000 MW of load that will need to be served,” Winter told theboard, noting that this summer’s peak was about 45,000 MW, withanother 2,000 MW voluntarily curtailed. To meet this potentialpeak-demand, in-state generation in total is only about 38,000 MWcurrently, he said.

That means the shortfall has to be made up from three sources:(1) out-of-state generation, (2) new generation in-state, and (3)voluntary curtailment of loads and demand-side management. At best— based on current growth throughout the West — California cancount on only about 4,000 MW from out-of-state, Winter said.Voluntary curtailments may bring as much as 2,000 MW and the newgenerating plants scheduled to come on line total another 1,000 MW.

“I would like nothing more than to have the generators come inhere and tell us that they will provide another 10,000 MW,” Wintersaid. “But I don’t think that is going to happen. I think we arefaced with the absolute consequence of being out of power nextsummer and having blackouts, and even doing everything possible,there is a high likelihood that this will occur.

“I think this is very serious and we have to come up with asolution, but it has to be one where people guarantee 2,000 MWloads.”

The board ended up taking more drastic measures yesterday to get2,000 MW of temporary peaking power in place by summer 2001. Itvoted to allow ISO staff enter into agreements for temporarypeaking power that would be used on a limited basis to maintainreliability. ISO management is authorized to use up to $255million/year to cover such agreements.

“We never anticipated the ISO would take on the responsibilityof stimulating development of generation resources this directly,”Winter said. “However, if we do not assume this role we will beincreasingly challenged in our efforts to protect consumers fromsuffering rotating blackouts next summer.”

©Copyright 2000 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. Thepreceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, inwhole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent ofIntelligence Press, Inc.