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Mary Davis's picture
Analyst Energy Risk Hub

I have more than 12 years experience researching and analyzing all aspects of the global electric power industry. I am passionate about finding the best path foward for a secure and sustainable...

  • Member since 2017
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  • Sep 28, 2020

This is a balanced view of the mismanagement of energy resources in California.


Randy Long's picture
Randy Long on Sep 28, 2020

Good video and post. Although I (mainly) agree that there is a lot of mis-management on the grid and natural resources (in general), like the forests, this is still a clumsy assessment. Most forests in California (and the West) are run by the Interior department - not state natural resource offices. It would take a lot of time by a lot of attorneys to go through the various Endangered Species Acts, etc. This doesn't go into DOE/FERC/NERC/WECC/CAISO/CPUC, etc. 

Nuclear, is not a panacea, but I think still has a place. There are several SMR reactors that are being developed that has a better "form factor" if there is one, than the current PWR that are out there. I know my green friends will slam me, but we need a baseline power gen that isn't dependent on fossil fuel. Fukushima should tell us all we need to know about siting and location for proposed reactors. Waste is still an issue, but these Thorium reactors are promising and don't produced weapons grade plutonium and uranium. But heavy water is still an obstacle. 

A lot more batteries are needed, especially for the notorious "duck curve" that everyone throws out there, but I think that's doable. Elon is a smart dude. 

My 2 cents...

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 29, 2020

I largely agree with you, Randy. I think framing it as nuclear having it's place-- not being the silver bullet but also not being an untouchable pariah-- is the right way we need to move forward. SMRs can reduce construction time and capital upfront costs, and as clean energy / storage advances the amount needed for that baseline power will be smaller anyway so  having them strategically geographically located will be beneficial towards that. And energy storage is advancing quickly-- Elon or not (I think it's important not to put our hopes on a single visionary / company, while of course owing thanks for the progress he ushered in via Tesla breaking into the market before the major automakers were ready to do so). 

As for your comments on California and the Interior vs. State Natural Resources Office vs. DOE vs. etc... Is there an argument to be made, in your opinion, that the past decade or so in CA has created the need for some more synergy across CA departments? Forest management and utility asset planning never really made sense to have under a single roof, but in that geography at this point in time it's hard to deny that they need to go hand-in-hand, and the separation of responsibilities into different offices may only be making that more difficult. 

Mary Davis's picture
Thank Mary for the Post!
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