“I don’t think there’s a darn thing the [Bush] administration can do” to rescue California from the inevitability of energy supply shortages and blackouts this summer, a White House energy official said last week.
Articles from Blackouts
Along with the specter of rolling blackouts caused by powersupply shortages in California during peak-demand periods thissummer, the state’s increasingly constrained natural gas pipelineinfrastructure may be bogged down by peak load demands running asmuch as 2 Bcf/d over system capacity, an energy teleconference wastold Wednesday. At stake are billions of dollars of extra coststhat could be caused as much by natural gas constraints as byshortages of megawatts.
At 2 p.m. (PST) Monday, the Cal-ISO anticipated California wouldavoid rolling blackouts and have only some business interruptionsin northern California to get around the transmission bottleneckfor moving supplies south to north. The prognosis for Tuesday ispretty much as it was yesterday, said Cal-ISO’s COO KellanFluckiger, noting that they do not anticipate any unplannedoutages, which is always the wildcard in transmission gridmanagement in the midst of shortages of the magnitude thatCalifornia has faced for the past two months.
As blackouts finally swept through California yesterday afterweeks of warnings, the initial reaction was negative to theCalifornia legislature’s proposals to cure the state’s powerproblems. Most observers concluded there was little indication thatthe proposals would either provide the power needed to keep thelights on in the state or solve the utilities’ financial woes.
Department of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson likened the powerindustry to an old jalopy in desperate need of repair yesterday atan energy conference in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the NationalEnergy Marketers Association. He expressed concern that Congresshas not been too interested in moving power restructuringlegislation and said if legislation isn’t completed soon there willbe dire consequences. “My main message is that unless there isrestructuring soon there are going to be power outages in thiscountry,” Richardson said.