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Category Archives: ‘Grid Vulnerabilities’
Jun 12 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Abby Sewell Los Angeles Times
The permanent closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant leaves significant unanswered questions about the future of the energy supply in Southern California, the head of the state's Public Utilities Commission acknowledged Tuesday.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.energycentral.com/enduse/demandresponse/news/en/28916948/With-San-Onofre-closing-sources-of-region-s-energy-are-uncertain?Share This Post
Posted: 06/18/2013 04:21:54 PM PDT
Updated: 06/18/2013 04:23:08 PM PDT
As Southern Californians prepare for summer, Southern California Edison is asking customers to be especially conservation-minded to help keep the electric grid stable and reliable during hot weather when energy use spikes, particularly without the power generated from the San Onofre nuclear plant.
Last summer, SCE customers saved 300 megawatts through conservation measures -- enough to power about 200,000 homes.
"While Edison has been doing all that it can to prepare to supply power without help from the San Onofre plant, customer conservation is still a must," said Erwin Furukawa, SCE senior vice president for customer service. "Now is the time to enroll in our conservation programs and start practicing conservation behaviors that can make a big difference for the grid."
To read the entire article go to: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_23486501/edison-urges-conservation-warm-summer-months-near?source=rss&utm_source=feedlyShare This Post
By Dan McSwain5 p.m.June 18, 2013
I’ve been marveling at the ever-increasing power of computing most of my life, beginning when I wrote my first program for pay at 16, discovered Led Zeppelin and bought my first truly great car stereo.
But lately, as computer models have become the foundation for everything from drug design to engineering to predicting human behavior, I’m seeing signs that we’re relying too heavily on this particular technology. Some healthy perspective seems overdue.
Exhibit A is the San Onofre nuclear power plant in north San Diego County, which is being shuttered permanently after engineering errors crippled its steam generators.
Those mistakes will cost somebody $4.3 billion. Regulators will spend the next year or so deciding whether that somebody is you and me, or some combination of consumers, utility shareholders, manufacturers and a national insurance fund.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/18/nuclear-failure-may-show-limits-of-computers/Share This Post
By Morgan Lee4:34 p.m.June 18, 2013
The operator of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is likely to scale back a robust slate of earthquake studies as it moves forward with retiring the coastal power plant.
Nuclear plants across the country are reassessing their seismic risks to comply with new federal requirements adopted largely in response to the March 2011 Japan earthquake, tsunami and meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi facility.
Southern California Edison contracted with at least three universities to help reassess seismic hazards at San Onofre, but those plans have been thrown into limbo by its June 7 announcement that the twin-reactor plant is closing for good. The plant has stopped producing power since January 2012 because of the rapid degradation of some steam generators.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/18/nuke-shutdown-earthquake-risk/Share This Post
As effects of the nuclear plant's shutdown are evaluated, officials examine how to to satisfy region
By Morgan Lee2:47 p.m.June 16, 2013
A future without nuclear energy has been on the drawing board for Southern California since a radiation leak shut down San Onofre in January 2012.
With the recent announcement of the facility’s permanent retirement, diverse architects of the state’s power grid are acting on those plans.
Utility executives last week resubmitted a previously spurned application for a major new natural-gas plant on the southern outskirts of San Diego, as engineers look to shore up power supplies across an area larger than the state of Maryland.
Any solutions will have to navigate increasing technological challenges and a complex landscape of environmental and clean-energy mandates in California.
The cost implications are unclear for ratepayers, who already are underwriting the state’s aggressive green-energy makeover. Utility engineers in San Diego County and the Los Angeles Basin are studying how to make up for San Onofre, which generated enough electricity to power 1.4 million homes.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/16/power-of-uncertainty/Share This Post
Published: June 17, 2013
As keeping the mobile life going becomes ever more important — both to wireless customers and the providers who serve them — AT&T says it has a new way to keep New Yorkers connected free.
Starting Tuesday, 25 solar-powered charging stations will sprout in parks, beaches and other outdoor spaces in the five boroughs, part of a pilot project from the wireless provider in partnership with the city. The stations — 12.5-foot steel poles with three petal-shaped solar panels fanning out on top — can accommodate up to six devices at a time regardless of wireless carrier, with dedicated ports for iPhones, Androids, BlackBerrys and standard USB charging cables.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/18/technology/att-to-introduce-solar-powered-charging-stations.html?ref=energy-environment&_r=0Share This Post
All signs point to…
Katherine Tweed: June 13, 2013
If you are the average American, chances are your power bill will be lower this summer than last summer. It’s not because of falling energy prices or eco-friendly practices, but because this year is expected to be cooler than 2012, which was much warmer than normal.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates the average summer bill will drop by 2.5 percent. There is a projected 4.6 percent decline in electricity sales for each home, but that is offset by an average 2.2 percent rise in retail prices. You're out of luck if you're in the Mountain West region or the Southwest, where prices are slated to go up slightly. Of course, the outlook is essentially mostly educated guesswork.
“In recent years, U.S. retail sales of electricity during the summer months have become more sensitive to changes in temperature, primarily because of the increasing prevalence of air conditioning in U.S. homes,” the EIA states in the Short-Term Energy Outlook Supplement.
The rate of air-conditioning use has climbed steadily in the past twenty years. Air conditioning accounts for the bulk of summer electricity use, but the piles of electronics most of us hoard isn’t helping either.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/can-we-curb-our-addiction-to-ac?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Headline&utm_campaign=GTMDailyShare This Post
Portland General Electric says the Salem Smart Power Center will allow the company to figure out how to efficiently take advantage of more renewable energy.
Earthtechling, Pete Danko: June 10, 2013
An 8,000-square-foot, nondescript, two-toned box of a building in Salem, Ore., looking like so many you’d see in a thousand industrial parks, could represent the future of energy management.
It’s Portland General Electric’s Salem Smart Power Center -- part of the larger Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project -- and at its heart is 5 megawatts of lithium-ion battery storage. The center will serve about 500 homes and businesses in southeast Salem as a microgrid, and PGE says its implementation will allow the company to figure out how to efficiently take advantage of more clean power.
“Outfitted with a large-scale energy storage system, the center is designed to help PGE test how to store and better integrate variable renewable energy sources like solar and wind into the electrical grid, along with several other smart technologies,” the company said last week as company officials and politicos -- including U.S. Senator Ron Wyden -- celebrated a ribbon-cutting.
The key to smartening up the grid is integrating real-time economic signals into the production and purchase of energy on the route that begins with generation and ends with your air conditioning unit clicking on.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Grid-Of-The-Future-Unveiled-In-Oregon-With-5MW-of-Li-ion-Batteries?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Headline&utm_campaign=GTMDailyShare This Post
Ex-secretary talks of Solyndra, Keystone and U.S. power grid
June 9, 2013
Steven Chu spent four sometimes brutal years in Washington trying to change the way America powers its homes, cars and businesses.
Now he's back.
The former U.S. energy secretary and Nobel Prize-winner has returned to academic life in the Bay Area, joining the Stanford faculty.
As President Obama's point man on green jobs and renewable power, Chu weathered fierce criticism following the 2011 bankruptcy of Fremont's Solyndra, which folded after receiving $528 million in federal loan guarantees.
But in an interview in his tiny, temporary Stanford office, Chu remained convinced that the administration's green-tech loan programs worked. The soft-spoken scientist also discussed the need for electric utilities to find a new business model before solar power and home energy storage upend their industry. And he touched upon the biggest energy controversy of the year - the proposed Keystone XL pipeline expansion.
The interview has been edited for space and clarity.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Ex-Energy-Secretary-Steven-Chu-Q-amp-A-4588898.phpShare This Post
Published: Sunday, Jun. 9, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6E
Southern California Edison's announcement on Friday that it won't restart the San Onofre nuclear power plant shouldn't shock anyone, least of all Gov. Jerry Brown.
But word that a huge source of California's electricity will be dark forever ought to jolt the governor, the official who will be held most responsible if California faces rolling blackouts this summer and beyond, as happened during Gray Davis' truncated tenure.
Brown and his friend, California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey, made the right statements in the wake of Edison's announcement.
Along with the California Energy Commission, they are engaged in long-term planning and are on top of the issue, they say.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and anti-nuclear energy activists hailed the closure. Clearly, nuclear power long ago failed to live up to its promises. Its legacy in the form of spent waste will remain a problem for tens of thousands of years.
But San Onofre and California's one remaining nuke, Diablo Canyon, delivered more than 15 percent of California's electricity. San Onofre cannot be replaced solely by sun and wind, at least not with current technology.
California is leading the nation and in many respects the world into a future that embraces renewable energy. But the power grid – and the economy – will require reliable baseline power for the foreseeable future. With the San Onofre plant shuttered, there must be alternatives.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/09/5480615/states-power-supplies-will-be.htmlShare This Post
By Dale Kasler
Published: Saturday, Jun. 8, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6B
Last Modified: Saturday, Jun. 8, 2013 - 1:41 am
The closure of one of California's largest power plants will tighten supplies, but problems should be manageable – and limited to Southern California.
Located in San Clemente, the plant powered 1.4 million homes and generated about 4 percent of California's electricity. San Onofre is one of two nuclear plants in the state; the other is Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s Diablo Canyon facility near San Luis Obispo.
While officials said any problems will likely be confined to Southern California, the closure of San Onofre underscores the continued delicate balance between supply and demand for energy in the state.
Steve Berberich of the California Independent System Operator, which runs the state's transmission grid, said pockets of Southern California will likely be subjected to conservation alerts this summer as the demand for electricity grows.
"It will be tight – we will have to have conservation messages out there," said Berberich, the ISO's chief executive. "If we ask for conservation, we need (consumers) to respond." Gov. Jerry Brown issued his own call for conservation.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/08/5480807/permanent-closure-of-san-onofre.htmlShare This Post
Dairy farmers have been burned by systems that promise to turn manure into power, but a new generation of digesters could revive this segment of the renewable energy field.
By Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
June 7, 2013, 8:21 p.m.
Dairy farmer Ron Koetsier's 1,200 cows produce roughly 90 tons of manure daily, and for the last three decades, he has tried unsuccessfully to turn the stinky dung into energy to power his 450-acre farm in Visalia.
He installed a nearly $1-million renewable energy system in 1985 that used the methane from manure to create electricity for his farm. In 2002, he replaced that system with newer technology, but he hit a snag when air-quality standards called for expensive retrofits to reduce air pollution; he eventually shut down the system in 2009.
In a few weeks, however, Koetsier's renewable-energy efforts will get a reboot as a new company replaces his current system with one that is expected to satisfy strict air standards in the highly polluted San Joaquin Valley.
A decade or so ago, dozens of California dairy farmers built million-dollar systems called methane digesters that convert manure into power. Then, unexpected pollution problems, regulatory roadblocks and low rates of return killed most such digester systems, leaving only a handful in operation.
All that could be changing as renewable energy companies develop new ways of running digesters to boost profits. They're improving technology to meet tough smog-control rules. At the same time, the state is trying out a streamlined permitting process to help remove costly regulatory hurdles.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-dairy-digester-20130609,2758761,3297577,full.storyShare This Post
Long, hot summer
The first task for Pakistan’s new prime minister is to keep the lights on
Jun 8th 2013 | LAHORE
LIKE most Pakistanis Mohammad Hussain complains bitterly about the paltry few hours of electricity available each day during the sweltering summer. Life for the 43-year-old labourer, already pretty miserable in the Lahore slum where he lives, is more unbearable without a fan to cool him at night or a pump to guarantee water.
Like many of his countrymen, he has never paid a rupee towards the cost of the dribble of electricity used by his wife and five children, who all live in a one-bedroom flat. Their building is illegally connected to the city’s power grid by a metal hook attached to a nearby electricity line.
Every now and then officials from the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) launch a “crackdown”. Officials phone ahead, giving everyone ample opportunity to remove their hooks. They then go door-to-door collecting bribes, organised on a careful tariff basis. Households with just a fan pay $5. For slightly beefier “air coolers” the fee is $10 and for the lucky few who can afford air conditioning the cost is $15. These charges are a fraction of LESCO’s official tariff, but none of the money goes into the coffers of a collapsing electricity system anyway.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21579059-first-task-pakistans-new-prime-minister-keep-lights-long-hot-summerShare This Post
Cal-ISO Says Power Grid Adequate For Summer Thursday, June 6, 2013 Steve Milne, Capital Public Radio Aired 6/6/13 Original source: http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/jun/06/cal-iso-says-power-grid-adequate-summer/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kpbs%2Flocal+%28KPBS+News%3A+Local+Headlines%29 Interior Northern California is expected to swelter through the hottest weather of the year so far on Friday and Saturday. But officials say all those running air conditioners won’t strain the state’s electricity grid. You won’t be hearing about any “flex alerts” urging you to cut back on electricity use during the hot spell. “We have plenty of supply on hand and we should be able to weather the hot days,” said Steven Greenlee with the California Independent System Operator. The agency operates the state’s electricity grid and decides when and where conservation will be helpful when demand is outpacing supply. Greenlee said the state has nearly 60,000 megawatts of generating capacity. “For this next couple of hot days we probably will still even be under 40,000 megawatts. So we still have plenty of supply that we can call up,” Greenlee assured. Even though the dry winter means hydroelectricity generation will be down and despite the closure of Southern California’s San Onofre nuclear power plant, Greenlee said California will have an adequate supply of electricity this summer.
Cal-ISO Says Power Grid Adequate For Summer
Thursday, June 6, 2013
Steve Milne, Capital Public Radio
Original source: http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/jun/06/cal-iso-says-power-grid-adequate-summer/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kpbs%2Flocal+%28KPBS+News%3A+Local+Headlines%29
Interior Northern California is expected to swelter through the hottest weather of the year so far on Friday and Saturday. But officials say all those running air conditioners won't strain the state’s electricity grid.
You won't be hearing about any "flex alerts" urging you to cut back on electricity use during the hot spell.
"We have plenty of supply on hand and we should be able to weather the hot days," said Steven Greenlee with the California Independent System Operator.
The agency operates the state's electricity grid and decides when and where conservation will be helpful when demand is outpacing supply.
Greenlee said the state has nearly 60,000 megawatts of generating capacity.
"For this next couple of hot days we probably will still even be under 40,000 megawatts. So we still have plenty of supply that we can call up," Greenlee assured.
Even though the dry winter means hydroelectricity generation will be down and despite the closure of Southern California's San Onofre nuclear power plant, Greenlee said California will have an adequate supply of electricity this summer.Share This Post
By Morgan Lee10:52 a.m.June 7, 2013
The San Onofre nuclear plant, whose iconic coastal reactors provided nearly one-fifth of the region's power, is being retired after 40 years of service, utility operator Southern California Edison announced Friday morning.
The plant has been offline since a tiny radiation leak in January 2012 led to revelations about the rapid degradation of newly replaced steam generators. Edison said mounting outage and repair costs, combined with delays and doubts about authorization to restart the plant by safety regulators, led the utility to cut its losses.
"We have concluded that the continuing uncertainty about when or if San Onofre might return to service was not good for our customers, our investors, or the need to plan for our region’s long-term electricity needs,” said Ted Craver, CEO of Edison International, the parent company of the plant operator.
Billions of dollars have been set aside for the plant's dismantling, a decades long process that will sustain hundreds of jobs at the plant site in northern San Diego County. Spent nuclear fuel will remain on site indefinitely as the U.S. government wrestles with finding one or several permanent repositories.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/07/nrc-invitation-only/Share This Post