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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.

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