By Published On: April 2, 2010

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District March 29 announced a 760 MW power project to be located in Contra Costa County near the city of Antioch passed it first air quality permit hurdle. Mirant’s Marsh Landing project, which would install best available air pollution control technology, would replace the older Contra Costa plant. “The project proposes to use cleaner, more efficient technology in place of older equipment, which would benefit air quality,” stated Jack Broadbent, Air District executive officer. The project would start as a simple cycle peaking unit to meet power needs at times of high demand. SDG&E signed a four-year deal with Calpine Energy Services for 25 MW of geothermal power from Calpine’s Geysers facility. The deal is to help SDG&E reach its 20 percent renewable portfolio standard. The Geysers in Northern California is the largest geothermal power producing site in the world, with Calpine owning 725 MW of capacity. Gills Onions is turning onion peels into energy and winning accolades in the process. The Ventura County-based company--along with the CA Energy Commission, which funded the energy project--nabbed a 2010 Green Leadership Award March 31. Gills Onions peels up to one million pounds of onions per day and uses the waste to make biogas to run two 300-killowatt fuel cells to produce combined heat and power for the facility’s use. “Smart” meter technology is vulnerable to hackers, according to a March 26 Associated Press report. The meters could be “attacked” by simply stealing them off the sides of buildings, or through a more sophisticated method, such as using a computer to enter individual meters to steal data or shut down power, noted security consultants. Renewable energy resources provided 10.66 percent of the country’s energy production last year. According to EIA, renewable energy sources also provided 10.46 percent of net U.S. electrical generation for 2009. Alternative energy accounted for 10.1 percent of domestic energy production in 2008 and 9.44 percent in 2007. Biofuels, biomass, geothermal, solar, wind, and water power provided 7.833 quadrillion Btus in 2009 – an increase of 5.5 percent over 2008. The largest single renewable energy source was biomass which accounted for 51 percent of renewable energy production, followed by hydropower at 34.2 percent. Wind, geothermal, and solar sources provided 8.9 percent, 4.7 percent and 1.2 percent respectively. A power shortage in San Diego caused blackouts to about 300,000 customers early morning April 1 to avoid reverberations in the grid. The California Independent System Operator asked SDG&E to back off the load “because it is preferable to manage a situation like this in a controlled fashion, rather than allow an uncontrolled situation to develop,” explained CAISO spokesperson Gregg Fishman. A little after midnight, he said, “we called on San Diego to reduce their load by about 300 MW. And by 1:00 am all power had been restored.”

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