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Bob Meinetz's picture
Nuclear Power Policy Activist Independent

I am a passionate advocate for the environment and nuclear energy. With the threat of climate change, I’ve embarked on a mission to help overcome the fears of nuclear energy. I’ve been active in...

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  • Mar 28, 2022
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Whether it's ineptitude or a concerted effort to export its emissions to Wyoming (or both), California's failed "renewables" experiment is having serious consequences

 

"Since everyone is paying attention to gas prices and to our dependence on fossil fuels, I thought that it would be helpful to remember the situation of natural gas in California, the state where I live.

I am sure that you have heard a lot about about our plans to become fully sustainable and rely on clean energy, but if you ignore what our government is *saying* and focus on what our government is *doing*, you'll realize that California's promises are just full of hot air.

Last year California petitioned the Federal government to lift emissions restrictions on its natural gas plants. At the same time, it built 5 new natural gas plants and cities around the state are looking to build more natural gas plants.

Why is this happening?
Because we simply don't have enough power when we need it. Tomorrow we could install 10 times more solar power and it would make zero difference in terms of emissions during night time, because solar is backed by natural gas. Let's not be naive, the lights are not going off. If we need to build more gas or even more coal to keep the power on, we will do it. If you don't believe me, look at Germany.

Our energy situation is serious and it's not looking good. Add to this the fact that we are going to electrify our transportation sector and our heating and you realize that our electricity consumption is going to increase a lot more. We are not ready for this. It will mean more emissions, and more vulnerability to situations like the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as gas prices depend on a global market.

While this is happening, our last nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, will be closed in 3 years. It provides nearly 10% of all the power in the state and it has zero emissions. Closing this plant is a political decision, not a technical decision. The plant could work for decades longer and be a key part of the green energy future of California, providing hydrogen and water for human consumption and agricultural uses. Closing the plant will make us more vulnerable to blackouts, more dependent on fossil fuels, it will make air pollution worse and it will hurt our economy. It is totally unnecessary."

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Richard Brooks's picture
Richard Brooks on Mar 28, 2022

110% agree. Nuclear power generation is key to reducing GHG.

More nukes = less GHG

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Mar 28, 2022

Whether it's ineptitude or a concerted effort to export its emissions to Wyoming (or both), California's failed "renewables" experiment is having serious consequences

Bob,

Thought you might be interested in this tool from EIA - it allows you to view hourly data from different grids and balancing authorities around the country. For example here is link for CAISO-

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/gridmonitor/dashboard/electric_overview/balancing_authority/CISO

If you scroll down you'll see a section that shows interchanges between various areas. Here is CAISO sample:

So you can see that at 5pm on the 25th CAISO was importing 1,425 MW from BPAT - Bonneville Power.

Using this you could potentially see your Wyoming information. For example CAISO grid yesterday changed from exporting 3,000 MW at 14:55 to importing over 7,000 MW later in the evening. The above EIA link would let you see where those imports come from. Note: sometimes it takes a day or so for info to update. Give it a try - I think you'll like it.

 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Mar 28, 2022

Thanks Joe. What I don't see is:

1) the demand curve, combined with supply, which would show why from 9AM to 3PM every day, CAISO is forced to curtail solar - chop off the top of solar generation - to avoid taking the grid down, or
2) How much California customers are being charged for that curtailment, in "decremental" subsidies to solar farm owners, so they won't go broke, or
3) Solar and wind graphed separately, so the public would understand that 12 hours of every day solar is worthless, and will always be worthless during peak consumption, and
4) How natural gas never stops generating electricity, even while solar is being curtailed, and
5) How those little squiggly yellow lines - batteries - are being charged by both dirty gas generation and solar, and
6) Why that means solar and wind will forever be incapable of replacing gas generation, and
7) How much of those imports are classified as "unspecified" - even electricity from Bonneville Power - and how much of them were being generated at coal and/or gas plants?

It's almost like CAISO is only showing us what California's gas lobby wants us to see...the myth that renewables might one day push that ugly brown and red lines off the chart. In fact, it's very much like that, isn't it?

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Mar 29, 2022

So ... did you try the EIA link I sent? Hard to tell from your comments - which seems to be focused on  CAISO?? 

Regarding point 7 - below is Bonneville generation data(95% clean) from last few weeks. Obviously this does not include any imports into BPA from elsewhere - but that is available as well - just a little messier. Note: the largest importer into BPA is British Columbia Hydro.

 

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