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Mike Beehler's picture
COO Mike Beehler & Associates, LLC

See www.MikeBeehler.com for my first book, The Science of the Sale.  MBA, LLC believes that strategically positioning for success and growth in the electric utility industry will require...

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  • Jul 22, 2021 9:00 pm GMT
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“It’s too expensive NOT
TO DO IT” says new PG&E CEO Patti Pope about the $15-30B PG&E will spend to strategically underground about 10% of their system.
https://lnkd.in/gkrS2jd

But….costs are coming down. https://lnkd.in/g9xKZEQ

From the Press Release “Thanks to breakthroughs PG&E has achieved on undergrounding projects in recent years, undergrounding can now play a much more prominent role in PG&E's ongoing efforts to harden the electric grid.”

Advancements include:

Implementing new planning systems and strategies and using new materials and equipment to make undergrounding more cost effective.

Building strong partnerships with material suppliers and contractors

Partnering with natural gas projects and phone and internet providers to joint trench where possible

Using new technology and construction methods to increase trench production

Bundling work into larger blocks for economies of scale

Testing new cable and conduit materials to accelerate undergrounding work processes.

This a huge announcement and many other utilities will follow the PG&E lead. Impressive news for our industry. 

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 22, 2021

PG&E will spend $15-30 billion to "strategically underground" the cause of only 8% of CA wildfires? Sounds like a backroom effort to strategically conceal another return-on-equity corporate power play:

"'Once-Through Cooling' Killed Coastal Power Plants

In 2010 California mandated the mothballing of 19 gas-generated electrical power plants, ostensibly to protect marine life. The shutdowns result from a ban on what is called 'once-through cooling'. Steam-generating power plants are located along the coastline so the plants can use ocean water to cool its turbines and discharge warm water back into the ocean. These 19 power plants have to shut down or convert to expensive air-cooling systems.

What the closure of these power plants has done is shift where electricity is produced to remote, inland or out-of-state green power plants dependent on long-haul power lines. In 2013 PG&E warned the state grid operator (ISO) of future green power blackouts. Moreover, the shift to green power has required doubling some transmission lines because solar and wind power are redundant power to natural gas generated power."

Why is California Blaming Wildfires on a Small Percentage of Downed Power Lines?

So instead of properly maintaining its transmission,* PG&E will close Diablo Canyon Power Plant, a coastal plant that prevents shifting generation to the "remote, inland, or out-of-state power plants" that are responsible for transmission-related California wildfires - and spend $15-30 billion on top of the $4.5 billion it will cost to decommission Diablo Canyon?!

Sounds like California's criminal power enterprise is upping the ante.

*How much less it would cost to maintain them is unknown. In the utility's annual Form 1 filing: PG&E  has redacted what it charges ratepayers for line maintenance:

 

 

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