ORIGINAL REPORTING: How California Is Easing Off NatGas With New Energy
ORIGINAL REPORTING: How California Is Easing Off NatGas With New Energy As gas plants struggle, California seeks new flexible capacity strategies; With up to 6 GW of gas plants at risk of closure, energy planners are scrambling for new compensation techniques and zero-carbon alternatives
Herman K. Trabish, June 27, 2017 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Since this story ran, California’s push to find new ways to use New Energy has continued to grow.
California’s utilities already face a 50% renewable energy mandate to hit by 2030, and lawmakers are debating even more ambitious targets. But California’s grid operator, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), says the state faces a complicated energy trilemma in reaching those goals: Renewables over-generation, excess natural gas capacity, and a potential shortfall of flexible generation. Policymakers are just beginning to understand how to deal with it. “We’re not going to be able to achieve our long term carbon reduction goals without reducing natural gas,” Laura Wisland, senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), told Utility Dive. “We will have to replace a lot of the natural gas generation that provides energy and reliability services with non-carbon resources like renewables, energy storage, load shifting, and targeted energy efficiency.”
Today’s system is much different than Wisland’s vision. Natural gas generation was 53.8% of the CAISO installed power mix in April. Renewables were 29% of the mix, with solar providing 14% of demand and wind 8.5%. CAISO forecasts natural gas generation will serve 61% of the state’s peak demand this summer, with 13.7% to come from solar and 2.5% from wind. Jan Smutny-Jones, CEO of the generator trade group Independent Energy Producers Association, argued California must move “in a rational way” toward its goals. Natural gas will not “abruptly disappear” because “that would be very bad for reliability and affordability,” he said… California needs “a plan for the orderly phase out of natural gas generation,” David Olsen, a member of the CAISO Board of Governors, said… click here for more