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August 26, 2020


Bruce Dickinson

Joe, you need to send that WSJ article as required reading for the City Council.

In fact, every state official needs to read and study that article and be tested on it later.

ALL those issues on the problems of Callifornia's power supply were brought up by several of us "mere bloggers".

Basically reading the comments in this thread is a veritable Master-Class in Economics. https://www.burlingamevoice.com/2020/02/banning-natural-gas-in-bgame.html#comments

Bruce Dickinson will not mince words here: Let's face it, we make the so-called pros looks like 2nd-rate amateurs!!!

Nailed it, once again!


BD, if I thought it would help (i.e. educate) I would send it, but alas I fear it would be a waste of bits. Perhaps the day the next outage hits B'way or the Ave. would be the right time.

In the meantime, if you read the piece in today's Comicle, you realize the "fish rots from the head:

Though some analyses have blamed California’s use of unreliable wind and solar power for the grid shortage, California Public Utilities Commission’s deputy executive director for energy and climate policy Edward Randolph insisted that clean energy is not the problem. Regulators have long been aware that they cannot fully rely on wind and solar power to meet peak demand in the evening hours, he said.


12 years into the shortages (or maybe more) they are getting ready to "study it".


A bit more information from the WSJ's Holman Jenkins:

California politicians spend much of their time obsessing about a climate change problem they can’t fix. Their state accounts for less than 0.1% of global emissions. There’s nothing they can do.

With wind and solar, nature controls the “off” switch. Man doesn’t.

Less noticed is the fact that customers of municipally owned utilities in Los Angeles and Sacramento were spared any outages. Because local politicians are directly in line for blame if the lights go out, the unheralded corollary is that these utilities insist on keeping fossil fuels a big share of their mix. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power gets 48% of its power from coal or gas. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District gets 54% from gas.

Compare this with 15% to 17% for the giant private utilities, such as Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric, that cover much of the state. Why? Maybe because their CEOs and shareholders are more easily bullied into signing up for the state's green goals. Maybe because political accountability is attenuated across their sprawling, multi-jurisdictional service areas.

If the state wants to make a statement about climate change, enact a carbon tax to reward low-carbon practices across the economy. Use the revenues to cut taxes on workers and job creators. Such an approach still won’t fix any climate problem but might ring bells with China, India and others whose emissions actually matter.


Check out this word salad of jibberish from the PR flack at Cal ISO in today's Comicle:

Officials said that the stress on the grid tends to hit a high point when solar production stops, but emphasized that this does not indicate that California is over-reliant on renewable energy. Rather, it’s part of the transition pains in moving toward a clean, carbon-free power grid, they said. Better ways to store solar power and using other energy options, like geothermal, can help alleviate that, said Mark Rothleder, vice president of market policy and performance for California ISO.

“We need to have a diverse mix of resources that can meet the demand in all hours,” he said. “I think we can do that and still drive towards a high-renewable, low-carbon grid, but we have to be more thoughtful and maybe more aggressive about ensuring that we build that capacity and that capability.”

Uh-huh. Let's do that! Maybe.


The Orange County register is also weighing in:

California might be the only place on Earth that celebrates the loss of energy production. In recent years, one nuclear plant and three natural gas facilities have been shut down. The only nuclear energy site that remains is the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in San Obispo County, which provides 9 percent of the state’s electricity but is scheduled to fully close in 2025 at a cost to consumers. As many as four gas plants, in Alamitos, Huntington Beach, Redondo Beach, and Ormond Beach, could go offline in the next few years. Three others are already set to expire, one in 2024, the others in 2029. That’s a mountain of lost energy that has to be replaced.

Lawmakers have forced California onto a sidetrack that ends with all electricity produced in the state generated by renewable sources by 2045. Despite their assurances, no one can definitively say the green regime will meet the growing need. But the heatwave, in which the unreliability of renewables pushed the system to the edge, shows that future summers might be as dark as they are hot.

--The Gavinor says we need to do better---

Part of “doing better” means developing batteries that can store enormous amounts of energy that’s produced when the sun shines and the wind blows. But according to Utility Dive, the energy industry doesn’t appear to be “bullish about the prospects of grid-scale battery storage over the next decade.” Simply demanding a breakthrough is useless.

“Doing better” according to the green orthodoxy also means more windmills and more solar panels. Is this a tradeoff renewables advocates, whom we assume are also conservationists, want to make? Because wind and solar are voracious consumers of land. Those spinning sails and photovoltaic modules need 90 to 100 times more space than natural gas plants to produce the same amount of energy, says Phys.org.

And if California is to reach just 80 percent renewables by 2050, five years later than the current time frame to reach 100 percent, as much as one acre of every 10 across the state, says ScienceDirect, would be surrendered to wind and solar farms, and hydropower, which the green movement doesn’t want to be listed as a renewable energy source.


Just Visiting

Nuclear needs to be a part of this discussion. But Diablo, sitting on a fault line, and very old, isn't the nuclear answer. We need to get over our irrational fears, and take modern nuclear power seriously.

Natural gas is all well and good as a bridge, but it shouldn't be the long-term answer.




Solar energy is becoming the norm for residential, commercial and government developments to reduce costs and be more environmentally responsible — but it is hard to generate any energy when the sun is blocked.

That is what solar users have been experiencing the last several weeks as the smoke from wildfires up and down the West Coast of the United States have reduced the efficiency of the sun — with last week’s “orange Wednesday” blocking almost all solar rays.

“Last Wednesday, no production at all,” said Steve Pariani, owner of Burlingame-based Solar Pro Energy Systems. “A lot of my systems were producing zero power.”

Paloma Ave

Less than 9% of carbon emissions in the U.S. comes from direct use of natural gas in homes and buildings; U.S. emits about 15% of world carbon emissions; thus, converting all buildings to all-electric and assuming that all electricity is produced from clean sources, the reduction in worldwide carbon emissions would be less than 1.5%, which according to most computer-based forecasting models, would have no detectable effect on global climate.


From the WSJ:

California’s power-grid manager is taking emergency steps to secure extra electricity as a hot, dry summer increases the risk of blackouts.

The California Independent System Operator is soliciting power producers across the West to sell more megawatts to the state in July and August in anticipation of regionwide heat waves that will substantially boost electricity demand.

Caiso, as it is known, said power supplies are lower than it expected, due to a reduction in hydroelectric generation caused by continuing drought conditions, power-plant outages and delays in bringing new generation sources online.

The grid operator hasn’t said exactly how much capacity it plans to procure, but noted that it is about 2,000 megawatts short of what it considers a comfortable margin between available supplies and demand at 8 p.m. local time, when solar production drops off. One megawatt can power roughly 750 homes, according to Caiso. (2000 x 750 = 1.5 million)


This guy will probably get more attention from the Sacramento pols than you or I would because of who he is and who he represents: Ron Miller is executive secretary at the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council

He writes for Calmatters:

To help address the backup power failure, the California State Water Resources Control Board will consider a recommendation in October to extend for two years the availability of an ocean-cooled power plant in Redondo Beach. It was set to be retired because of state policy on phasing out ocean-cooled power plants.

But when Californians experienced blackouts last August, the Redondo Beach plant provided critical supply to support the grid, as it did again in June, when summer temperatures arrived early.

The company that owns the plant is actively planning to divest from the property. Local politicians know this. Although the plant has been the target of complaints about noise and air pollution, those complaints often are embellished. Politicians should consider the short-term need of fellow Californians who do not have the luxury of the coastal living they enjoy and are much more reliant upon air conditioning and electricity to not only provide comfort but also safety from extreme heat.

Although the state’s energy agencies are recommending that the water board extend operations for a few remaining ocean-cooled power plants, it is important to understand that the plants will mostly sit idle unless they are needed to support the grid in times of extreme high energy use. Other energy sources, such as solar, wind and battery storage, must be exhausted before these older, ocean-cooled power plants are called into service. This is exactly what happened during last year’s rolling blackouts, which would have been far more widespread if the legacy plants had not been available.

Californians should ask their state legislators to support system reliability and urge the water board to extend the ability of the Redondo Beach plant to stay in operation for two years. Legislators should resist the short-sighted provincial opponents to this recommendation. It’s not a step backward. It’s a sensible act to assure needed power for our state while we continue striding toward our energy future.

Paloma Ave

Should the State of California buy and run the Diablo Canyon Nuclear plant?

PG&E wants to cease operations at this location. With the billions of surplus taxes extorted from California taxpayers let the state spend some money wisely. After all, the state is still mandating that more housing be built.


Dan Walters from Calmatters providing some perspective:

Several factors propelled the 2003 recall of then-Gov. Gray Davis, but one of the most powerful was his clumsy handling of an electric power crisis that had resulted in rolling blackouts.

With high temperatures driving power demand upwards, with drought curtailing hydroelectric generation and with the state more dependent on less reliable solar and wind power, California faces a looming supply shortfall that could force power blackouts.

The state might be 3,500 megawatts short on hot afternoons this summer and as much as 5,000 megawatts short next summer if the drought continues.

Newsom suspends environmental clearances and other regulatory procedures to accelerate new power sources, including battery banks to back up solar and wind projects.

Newsom’s order declares that “conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist due to rapid, unforeseen, sudden and severe energy shortages throughout California caused by these climate events.”

The key word is “unforeseen,” a not-so-subtle disclaimer of political responsibility if blackouts occur. But in reality, he had plenty of warning that California was short of electric energy.
Yep. Notice the original post above is from LAST AUGUST.............


Newsome is only Human. He is responsible for the 4th largest Economy in the World. Newsome has experienced "Social Evolution" like no other Politician in the US.
The "Brown Outs" are necessary due to the "Global Warming Phenomenon." Forest Fires.
World Wide Forest fires.
Given all the BS this Guy-Newsome has had to go through to this day, plus HAVING to Run against Katlin is a waste of time.

So who will it be "Hillsider?"

Katlin-A True Real Republican. Or Gavin Newsome?
I hope Hillsider is OK. I have not read anything from HS in a while.


Prediction: No lockdowns, no black outs, no state-wide mask mandates until after the recall vote if Newsom stays.


Nice campaign slogan for Newsom (no "e") - "I'm Only Human". He should run with that.

I'm not sure what "social evolution" is, but pretty sure he's not the sole politician to experience whatever it is.

holly, I'm guessing hillsider moved to Austin, or maybe Nashville or Boise. Wish he would write :-)

Cassandra, what are the odds of a partial lockdown on Sept. 15th? :-0

Peter Garrison

Saw a great visual of this electric car fiasco:

Millbrae parking lot space labeled “Electric Vehicle Only”.

Parked there was a wonderfully massive, pre-oil embargo convertible red Cadillac Eldorado.

Sign on the electric charging station?

“Out of Order”


The irony and hypocrisy just keep piling up. Meanwhile a bunch of California electeds headed to Gasglow, Scotland to talk about stuff.
Nov 4 (Reuters) - California on Thursday said it would increase the amount of natural gas stored at a Los Angeles-area facility that suffered a devastating leak six years ago, its latest loosening of environmental rules to shore up energy supplies.

In a 4-0 vote, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a plan to boost the capacity of SoCalGas' Aliso Canyon underground storage facility to 41 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas, it said in a statement.

That is about 20% more than allowed previously, but less than the 68.6 bcf the CPUC considered in a rival proposal.

After years of restricting the growth of fossil fuel infrastructure, California has increasingly looked to natural gas for power generation this year after drought and wildfires left it with few other options to keep the lights on.


Paloma Ave

As I have mentioned before, we don't need democrats, we don't need republicans, what we need is elected officials who have COMMON SENSE!


Unfortunately it seems that common sense has become highly uncommon.


There are some great quotes in this DJ article about South City seeking a more reliable electric grid in town:

South San Francisco councilmembers probed Pacific Gas and Electric officials this week regarding reliability issues, following a pattern of outages in the city’s Westborough neighborhood and broader concerns as the city plans to increase electricity use in its transition away from natural gas.

“South San Francisco has been hit pretty hard in terms of outages,” Mayor Mark Nagales said during the meeting. “Does the infrastructure need improvement, and if so how do we get there?”

The Westborough neighborhood, which has roughly 10,000 residents, has recently experienced more frequent and longer duration outages compared with the rest of the Peninsula and Bay Area, Nagales said, pointing to several outages throughout last year.

“In the process of community outreach for electrification of our commercial sector we’ve been receiving a lot of concerns,” Councilmember James Coleman said, who questioned how the utility would increase the grid’s capacity and reliability as demand picked up. ---YEAH, I'LL BET YOU DID----

According to PG&E representative Bill Chiang, the utility, after studying outages in the city, “did not see any patterns that would indicate a larger reliability issue.”

Chiang emphasized that each outage is often the cause of unique circumstances resulting from various equipment issues.

“Overall, PG&E really has a haphazard way of approaching things,” Councilmember Mark Addiego said of the plan. “It’s really all about communication, and maybe you’re just too damn big to get out of your own way at this point.” ---YEAH, THAT's THE PROBLEM, THEY'RE TOO BIG" says the guy with the thinnest Linked-in profile I've ever seen....


Paloma Ave

It appears that South San Francisco elected officials have been schooled by those like-minded socialist from the People's Republic of Berkeley.

Not a good look.

This is a repeat but well worth review.

Less than 9% of carbon emissions in the U.S. comes from direct use of natural gas in homes and buildings; U.S. emits about 15% of world carbon emissions; thus, converting all buildings to all-electric and assuming that all electricity is produced from clean sources, the reduction in worldwide carbon emissions would be less than 1.5%, which according to most computer-based forecasting models, would have no detectable effect on global climate.

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