SHORTS CIRCUIT

By Published On: February 26, 2010

The TransBay transmission line is set to operate next month, removing the requirement that Mirant’s San Francisco Potrero power plant remain under standby operation. After undergoing tests for the last few months, the power line--placed under the water in San Francisco Bay--would be able to transfer up to 400 MW of electricity from the East Bay. “The closure of the Mirant power plant is a win for clean air and common sense,” stated S.F. Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier. A breakthrough agreement on measuring and reporting energy efficiency at data centers was announced by the Department of Energy, U.S. EPA, and Silicon Valley Leadership Group, among others. Data centers continue to increase energy consumption. A standard approach to how, where, and how often to measure energy usage is lacking. “The progress made in this agreement will also support the DOE’s broader goal of reducing industrial energy intensity 25 percent over the next 10 years,” states a Feb. 19 department release. The deal provides guidance on principles for data center operators to gauge energy use and bolster energy efficiency. A task force was created to refine the general metrics, how to go forward and carbon accounting in the future. Modesto Irrigation District’s board voted to halve its interest in the 280 MW Lodi Energy Center. On a 3-2 vote Feb. 23, the board voted to sign up for 30 MW from the Northern California Power Association project coming to the end of the permit process at the California Energy Commission. MID originally agreed to 66 MW from the natural gas-fired project. “The other partners in the project are likely to step up their shares in the project given MID’s decision to move forward at the 30 MW level,” said Melissa Williams, MID spokesperson. The muni vote reflects the impact of the district’s 7 percent rate increase during an economic downturn. California has weatherized only 12 homes out of 43,400 planned with federal economic stimulus money granted under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act last year, according to a Feb. 19 U.S. Department of Energy Inspector General’s report. The report covered weatherization activities by states under the Act through Feb. 16. It placed California near the bottom of the heap on progress, with the state having accomplished just 0.03 percent of its goal. Delaware was number one, achieving 34 percent of its goal. Number two was Mississippi at 27 percent. Allowing utilities to use renewable energy credits would minimize the cost of building new transmission to support alternative power said a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report released Feb. 24. The credits allowing the use of renewable energy attributes of green power could lower transmission investment by up to $8 billion, the report said. Using these credits would trim the cost of power about six-tenths of a cent/kWh, according to Ryan Wiser, a principal author of the report. The study also noted that using renewable credits would help equalize the cost of complying with a 33 percent renewable energy standard across the West. DOE tripled previous estimates of the nation’s wind power potential in a study released Feb. 24. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory study conducted with AWS Truewind estimated that wind projects in the lower 48 states could produce up to 37 million GWh/year. Last year, wind generation produced about 4 million GWh. “The estimates show what is possible, not what will actually be developed,” stated DOE.

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