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If our California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has its way, we’ll soon have access to coal-powered EVs and owe Warren Buffet $18B for the pleasure…

Alex Cannara's picture
Consultant, self
  • Member since 2018
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  • Jun 10, 2022
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‘CPUC's December 22, 2021 Proposed Decision in R2005003, the CPUC's plan to replace zero-emission Diablo Canyon with PacifiCorp's emissionladen [coal & gas] generation, hidden behind the California legal euphemism, "Unspecified Imports"’.

Odd, given the CPUC’s Charter, line 1: “All decisions shall be made in the public interest” Coal & gas emissions are suddenly in the public interest?

Of course, this is the same CPUC (different peole) that allowed PG&E to falsify maintenance records for their 30” gas main through a San Bruno neighborhood that burst in 2010 https://tinyurl.com/mwvdyj3a burned 8 people to death, destroyed homes and, further underscoring why NTSB found both CPUC and PG&E negligent, couldn’t be turned off for over an hour because no automatic shutoff valving had been required by CPUC.

CPUC & PG&E were found negligent. PG&E remains under court supervision for that and its poor wildfire safety. Neither PG&E nor CPUC management were prosecuted.

CPUC had more to ‘contribute’ in 2015 -- SoCal Gas was allowed to overpressure gas storage wells in its Aliso Canyon well field despite safety valving questions ignored by CPUC. The resulting leak luckily didn’t burn up nearby Porter Ranch, but it did leak several million tons of CO2- equivalent emissions over a few months. https://tinyurl.com/2p8ehx43

So, the CPUC’s “Proposed Decision in R2005003” does what? It allows Warren Buffet to sell us electricity generated by his ~13GW of coal and gas plants in his Berkshire-Hathaway Energy inventory. He apparently needs to find some inept state agency to allow his polluting power into their power system – ours, if we’re so foolish as to shut off Diablo Canyon’s clean power and accept CPUC’s unenvironmental action.

The CPUC’s proposal is even more absurd because Buffet wants us in California to pay for new, long-distance power lines to his coal & gas generators, as, for instance, run by his Pacificorp subsidiary (Buffet's 2/2/2021 letter* to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders informs Californians the powerline price tag will be $18 billion).

If Californians don’t head to, or write to, the California Public Utilities Commission, 505 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94102 and give the members firm opinions, Warren Buffet will be tickled.

Suggestions have been made that our CPUC leadership shouldn’t be appointed, but elected. We Californians might then have a chance to pick from candidates who actually care about the first line in CPUC’s charter.

Discussions
Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Jun 13, 2022

Alex, It looks like your statements are very slanted. I'm not sure where you are gettting your information but it sounds like you love deadly Nuclear with imported Uranium and hate Warren Buffet. 

Alex Cannara's picture
Alex Cannara on Aug 18, 2022

Uranium is used by the pound in reactors; coal is used by ____ (you can look it up).

Duke Energy's CEO says they have >100,000,000 tons of coal ash in piles that too often get loose into farmland/rivers.  All >60 years of US used Uranium fuel fits in a pile on 1 football field.  Might want to look up what's in that coal ash.  At least the used nuclear fuel is >90% recyclable and contains no lead, arsenic, cyanide...  Then there's what's in the coal mine.  ;]

Alex Cannara's picture
Alex Cannara on Aug 27, 2022

"Deadly nuclear"?  Regulated nuclear power around the world is the safest generation.  Even PV is less safe.  Why, Jim?

Check groups like The Paul Sherer Institute in Switzerland, or any other industrial safety monitor.

Richard McCann's picture
Richard McCann on Jun 14, 2022

First, any imports to California must meet the GHG emission limits in SB1368. This effectively restricts imports to the emission rate of a combined cycle plant so coal imports can only come in if blended down to 40% or less with renewables such as wind. And that ignores the fact that many of these coal plants are projected to be retired by 2030.

Second, given the obvious negligence by PG&E that you highlight, why would we want that company to continue to also run a nuclear power plant? If the CPUC can't monitor gas and electric lines adequately, why should they be given continued responsibility for a technology with the potential for even more catastrophic accidents? 

I don't support PacifiCorp's proposal--we should instead by decentralizing our generation with much cleaner distributed energy resources, but your rationale doesn't hold water.

Alex Cannara's picture
Alex Cannara on Aug 18, 2022

Richard, if you want to defy physics go ahead, but reality isn't on the side of wind/solar for utility-scale power.  For example...

Wind reality...
https://tinyurl.com/3amr993p

Generation source comparison...
https://www.gridbrief.com/p/guest-oped-solar-expensive-power

There's an engineering parameter called energy density which even DoE documents as poor for wind/solar.  Do you know what that parameter is for each?

PS, I'm a long-time SunPower stockholder, but I'm also an electrical engineer.  The basic problem with PV is that it's unregulated, so those capable of offering environmentally better products that cost more can't compete.

Engineers/scientists owe the public honesty.

 

 

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Aug 23, 2022

I don’t see that the «Wind Reality» reference proves a thing. How could the utility be held accountable for things like:

“There are obviously factors that can affect the output of any generation facility, notwithstanding the reasonable and prudent actions of the operator, including natural disasters, acts of war or terrorism, changes in law or policy, regional transmission constraints or a host of other uncontrollable circumstances,” Blue said.

Just think what would happen if those criteria were applied to a nuclear plant agreement. They would have gone bust a long time ago. But wait! The nuclear industry did go bust years ago.

With regard to the $9.8 billion price tag, please consider the current price tag for the Vogtle plant: Over triple the quoted price, 3 years late and no firm start up date in sight. Please consider that along with the

«Generation Source Comparison.»

reference. Meanwhile, while the costs to build and operate nuclear continue to skyrocket, the costs for solar and wind plummet. 

In addition to your aversion to defying physics, you should not try to defy economics either.

The Scots and the Danes already «defy physics» rather well and routinely. The French, not so much.  (Their nuclear based generation operates at about half capacity on a good day.)  I guess the US will catch on soon.  No one wants to even think about «physics» as long as the Russians use the largest nuclear plant in Europe as a military garrison.  

The only egg left in the nuclear basket is the SMR. When and if that egg hatches, not before 2030, and it can be shown to be safe and cost effective, it might be useful. It is to be hoped that the waste issue is also resolved by then. Don’t forget to include that cost when and if a commercial SMR is on line by then.  Meanwhile, solar and wind, especially offshore wind, thrive.

There may well be valid arguments for continuing to operate Diablo for a few more years.  But you make a weak case weaker.

Yes, as you say:

«Engineers/scientists owe the public honesty.»

Alex Cannara's picture
Alex Cannara on Aug 25, 2022

Mark, are you unaware that China builds their AP1000 in 5 years for $3B?  The S. Koreans do similarly. 

But cost  to build for something that lasts a century and minimizes both pollution and environmental impact is almost irrelevant.  Even the Japanese, with their largely anti-nuclear print media are restoring nuclear plants to have 9 working again, both for economic and pollution reasons.  And Germany is now realizing the benefit to its security by maintaining t least 3 of its plants running.

But, engineering & environmental reasoning has made clear that only nuclear power can be deployed quickly enough to meet IPCC targets -- per the World Bank.  And GLEX has an clear comparison of energy-source footprints:  energy.glex.no/footprint   Overall costs are what wise planners use and environmental costs are ignored by 'renewables'.

Alex Cannara's picture
Alex Cannara on Aug 31, 2022

"while the costs to build and operate nuclear continue to skyrocket, the costs for solar and wind plummet"

So you feel ok misleading us all, Mark?  Do you hide how much we CA folks pay each year for curtailments?  That alone is ~$1B/year out of ratepayers' pockets.  Do you also ignore basic business flaws of wind/solar, like "missed opportunity" and "stranded asset" costs?  Of course, we all subsidize those.

TYhen there's the poor performance of CA wind, and the environmentally unregulated burden of PV, which delivers ~80% of incoming solar energy to heat and infrared, adding to local/global warming.  And then there's the lifespan, storage, overbuilding and recycling costs...

So, are you any sort of degreed scientist/engineer Mark?  Are you aware that the World Bank has been warning that wind/solar cannot meet IPCC targets as nuclear can?

Finally, do you know why there's no such thing as "renewable energy"?

Alex Cannara's picture
Alex Cannara on Sep 2, 2022

One comment on:  "Just think what would happen if those criteria were applied to a nuclear plant agreement."

We don't have to "think", we can observe:  Nuclear power around the US is on and delivering clean power >90% of the year.  Wind/solar <40/20%.  Gas/oil/coal <<90%.  One can get these stats from EIA, but some folks seem to avoid reality.

And, as mentioned elsewhere, nuclear fision fuel is like a "primary" battery -- comes charged already.  'Renewables' have to deploy as much rechargeable storage as they deliver kWH and then they must overbuild by >2x to perhaps charge that storage every day.  Or, since wind/solar are weather dependent, we must overbuild even more to be more and more sure the storage will be charged when we need it, say tonight, etc.

In contrast, nuclear is almost always ready to deliver, even when scheduled for downtime, because nuclear fuel always has some fissile atoms left to deliver power.  That's why C AISO has relied on Diablo Canyon to reschedule refuellings to rescue places like LA from heat waves.

It's why Diablo Canyon has been asked by CAISO now to avoid any maintenance outages, so blackouts due to wind/solar/gas/import shortfalls may be covered.

http://tinyurl.com/zha8dba

 

Amazing how the 'renewables' scam finds supporters.  ;]

 

Alex Cannara's picture
Alex Cannara on Aug 27, 2022

A pint I missed was trusting PG&E -- Diablo has an independent safety committee DCISC.org and PG&E must follow its oversight by law.

 

Alex Cannara's picture
Alex Cannara on Aug 27, 2022

I may have forgotten to explain why "imports to California must meet the GHG emission limits in SB1368" is wrong.  Too bad no graphics in this interface, but the CA energy source list includes "unspecified" which allows polluting sources just under a limit of about 1GW to sneak into our power.  That' what Buffet would like to exploit more.

Alex Cannara's picture
Alex Cannara on Jun 16, 2022

If you read my post, you'd see that our CA PUC/Energy Comm. allows "unspecified" imports up to a certain amount, which includes coal. LA still has its own mine and coal power station in Delta Utah. There are many manipulations of CA laws and emissions regs going on. It's about $. Buffet can't sell his coal power to WA & OR any more, so he wants to establish a special way to dump it . If you want more expert opinions, email me: cannara@sbcglobal.net It's a very important, expensive threat to reliable clean power.

Alex Cannara's picture
Alex Cannara on Aug 31, 2022

I posted the "unspcified" imports chart for PG&E.  Should be here somewhere!

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Sep 1, 2022

We’ve heard promises from the nuclear industry for many years, starting with «too cheap to meter» and ending with Vogtle. We’ve yet to see proof of affordable, safe results. The era of construction of conventional nuclear power in the US is over. The argument has been lost, though the nuclear fuel waste problem will persist for generations. 
 

Sometime in the 2030’s we may know if next generation nuclear, i.e. SMRs, is viable. 


Here in Europe, as I write, we are stocking up on iodine tabletts for our kids, because the highly vulnerable, largest nuclear plant on the continent is being used as a weapon of war because of its vulnerability to conventional artillery.  
A great deal, about half, of the «inexpensive» nuclear power in France is offline because of cracking welds and lack of sufficiently cool water. 

Nevertheless, as I’ve said before,  and it appears that the California legislature agrees, there may be a reason to keep Diablo Canyon running for a very limited time. 


If you wish to believe that it is an endorsement of the future of nuclear power in the US, then that is your right. I see Westinghouse stock (WEST) is trading at $0.51 today.  Are you putting your financial resources there?

Alex Cannara's picture
Alex Cannara on Sep 2, 2022

Mark, on "nuclear waste" do you not now what it is?

Here's a tutorial: 

 

 

Yo make it easy, all 60+ years of US nuclear plant waste fits in a pile on a football field (our kind of football).  But, >94% of that isn't waste, but like the water in milk, it's a dilutant -- natural Uraniium238.  It's perfectly reusable in current or future reactor designs.

So, actual nuclear waste from running >10% of US electric power for >60 years fits in a pile between the goal and 5-yard line on a football field.

You didn't know that, Mark?

How much poisonous, radioactive waste is incurred from constructing just 1 wind generator that might produce 1/1000 the power of a common nuclear reactor?

How much poisonous waste from fabricating or recycling 1GW of PV panels?

Know that too, Mark?

Are you a scientist or engineer of any kind?

Alex Cannara's picture
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