Demand for gas by California power generators will grow 1.8% annually over the next 20 years while overall state gas demand growth will only be 0.5% per year. Residential and commercial sectors will see low growth and there will be no demand growth among industrials, according to the latest California Gas Report.

Under normal temperature conditions and with normal hydroelectric power supplies, the state’s average daily natural gas demand for this year is expected to be 6.15 Bcf/d, growing to an average of 6.69 Bcf/d in 2025, according to the biannual report prepared by California major investor-owned gas utilities — Pacific Gas and Electric Co., and Sempra Energy’s two utilities, Southern California Gas Co. and San Diego Gas and Electric Co.

Statewide supply sources are projected to be an average of 6.29 Bcf/d this year, growing to 6.82 Bcf/d in 2025. Electric generation would represent the largest single sector use, averaging 1.46 Bcf/d this year, and reaching close to 2 Bcf/d in 2025 (1.93 Bcf/d).

The big growth in supply has been from the Rockies through MidAmerican Energy Holding Co.’s Kern River Pipeline, whose annual average daily supplies more than doubled from 2001 through 2005 (708 MMcf/d to 1.46 Bcf/d). In the same period supplies from in-state and out-of-state Southwest sources have declined. California producers went from providing an average of 1 Bcf/d in 2001 to 861 MMcf/d last year; El Paso Natural Gas from 2.16 Bcf/d five years ago to 1.37 Bcf/d in 2005; Transwestern from an average of 869 MMcf/d in 2001 to 585 MMcf/d last year; and western Canadian supplies went from 1.71 Bcf/d in 2001 to 1.34 Bcf/d in 2005.

The expected impact from the state’s aggressive push for increased use of renewable resources for power generation and energy efficiency are factored into the projections for the overall gas demand and the electric generation sector demand for the fuel. Cumulative natural gas savings from overall energy efficiency and renewable programs by the state’s investor-owned utilities are estimated to equal 125 Bcf in 2006, ballooning to 682 Bcf or 27% of consumption by 2025, the report said.

Regionally, daily gas supply sources and demand are projected to grow sharply in the north for PG&E, while remaining flat in the south for the Sempra utilities, and a large, separate 1.5 Bcf/d supply/demand portion for direct access customers also is projected to stay flat or decrease statewide.

Supply/demand projections for PG&E estimate a 2.1 Bcf/d supply and 1.97 Bcf/d demand on average this year, growing to 2.63 Bcf/d and 2.51 Bcf/d, respectively in 2025. In contrast, in the south the Sempra utilities will have tight supply/demand average daily figures this year of 2.647 Bcf/d and 2.645 Bcf/d, growing only slightly over the next 20 years to 2.714 Bcf/d of supplies on average, with demand averaging 2.713 Bcf/d.

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