The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) is warning energy regulators about upcoming power reliability problems driven by the state’s decarbonization and renewable energy transition.

CAISO recommended the state re-think its current schedule for closing some coastal gas-fired generation plants as part of a ban on the use of seawater-cooled power plants.

Addressing integrated resource planning changes contemplated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), CAISO said there is a potential gap of up to 2,000 MW in the daily power requirements by the summer of 2021 and up to 2,500 MW in 2022. CAISO’s estimates are based on an independent analysis.
“Based on the analysis and operational experience, [we] urge the commission to focus immediately on developing a comprehensive plan for addressing near-term reliability needs through 2022,” CAISO stated.

The recommendation for the CPUC’s ultimate plan “should prioritize procurement of existing and new resources to be online as soon as possible, and as a backstop, facilitate extending the state Water Resource Control Board’s once-through-cooling regulations for gas-fired resources that are needed to maintain near-term reliability.”

The proposal said as new resources were procured, the CPUC should “allow for the inevitable retirement and replacement of generating units that received an extension.”