Clean Resources Star Post San Onofre

By Published On: February 13, 2014

A groundbreaking proposal directs that a minimum 600 MW of local non-fossil energy resources fill a good part of the supply gap left by the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant. Under the California Public Utilities Commission proposal released Feb. 11, renewables, energy efficiency, demand response and storage are to make up at least 400 MW of Southern California Edison’s additional 500-700 MW of pending procurement authorization. For San Diego Gas & Electric, at least 200 MW of its 500-700 MW additional procurement is to be from non-fossil resources. The “proposal affirms that California can replace the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station with 100 percent clean energy,” said Evan Gillespie of the Sierra Club’s My Generation Campaign. “However, the proposed decision also needlessly leaves the door open for utilities to propose the construction of new gas-fired plants in the future, which would constitute replacing a carbon-free energy resource with new fossil fuels.” The proposal is the outcome of the closely watched Track Four of the Long Term Procurement Proceeding focused on filling the gap from the nuke plant closure. There has been much disagreement during this proceeding over the amount of estimated need in the region served by San Onofre. Many non-utility interests insisted the numbers the Commission relied on were too high, and undercounted energy efficiency and demand response. Administrative law judge David Gamson called the latest proposed 500-700 MW procurement targets for Edison and SDG&E “within the range of prudent.” At the same time, the ruling notes, “It is not possible to quantify whether the risks of over- or under-procurement are greater.” This week’s proposed ruling, if approved, brings Edison’s authorized procurement for resources over more than 10 years to between 1,900-2,500 MW. SDG&E’s authorization rises to 880-1,000 MW when combined with Track One of the earlier-approved Commission long term procurement proceeding. The capacity targets are to help fill the void in the West Los Angeles Basin left by the retirements of the 2,200 MW San Onofre plant and nearly 5,700 MW of water-cooled power plants along the coast due in the years ahead. Under this week’s tentative ruling, Edison is directed to purchase at least 400 MW of “preferred resources” that is, renewables, energy efficiency, demand response or energy storage by 2022. It also gets to decide what type of resources to use to meet another 100-300 MW of estimated need. San Diego Gas & Electric is authorized to buy at least 175 MW of alternative resources, with another 25 MW supplied by energy storage. It gets to select the type of resources to supply an additional 300-500 MW. Earlier, Edison was given the okay to invest in 1,000 MW of natural gas fired generation in Track One of this Long Term Procurement proceeding. At the time, it was also ordered to invest in 150 MW of “preferred” resources and 50 MW of energy storage. SDG&E previously was given the green light to use the approved Pio Pico gas plant, just approved last week, to meet 300 MW of need. Qualifying storage technology in these long-term resource purchases can include large pumped hydro.

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