California Rejects Gas Plant Refurbishment, Embraces Solar + Storage

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

California has finally rejected a 2014 proposal to refurbish an ageing Edison Gas Plant used for grid stabilisation during peak power loads.

California rejects gas peaker plant, seeks clean energy alternatives

The California Public Utilities Commission rejected a refurbishment of the Southern California Edison’s Ellwood Peaker Plant, paving the way for a solar+storage solution instead.

OCTOBER 4, 2017

Critics of Southern California Edison’s (SCE) Ellwood Peaker Plant are hailing the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) decision to reject unanimously a taxpayer-funded refurbishment of the plant, saying it affords the utility an opportunity to put more solar+storage into operation.

The CPUC also indicated that they would like to re-evaluate its approval of another gas peaker plant that has yet to be built.

“At this time, absent very compelling circumstances, we should be directing all of our investments in infrastructure and energy to clean energy resources,” said Clifford Rechtschaffen, one of the commissioners. “The proposed refurbishment is not a good use of ratepayer dollars.”

During the CPUC’s deliberations, the Clean Coalition, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and a modern grid through technical, policy, and project development expertise, submitted its own analysis that it says proves solar+storage could replace the Ellwood gas plant at a far lower cost than refurbishing the older plant.

Read more:

This decision follows a court ruling in April rejecting the application to refurbish the Ellwood plant, on the grounds that refurbishing the plant would not contribute to greater energy reliability.

PUC Judge Rejects Southern California Edison Bid to Refurbish Ellwood Peaker Plant

Non-binding ruling assert natural-gas-powered facility does not fit the requirements and goals of providing the area with greater energy reliability.

By Sam Goldman, Noozhawk Staff Writer April 24, 2017 | 6:41 p.m.

A California Public Utilities Commission judge has ruled against a Southern California Edison proposal to refurbish a natural-gas-powered “peaker” plant in Goleta that would have extended the facility’s lifespan by 30 years.

Administrative Law Judge Regina DeAngelis wrote in a non-binding ruling that other regional power-generators can better provide the extra energy resiliency the CPUC wants for the area, and that the plant may not be the most environmentally friendly source of emergency power during a local blackout.

“The record reflects that Ellwood is a highly polluting resource permitted to emit as much as 103.59 pounds per hour of nitrogen oxide — which is over 20 times the normal emission rate of a modern peaking unit with modern emission controls,” she wrote.

Edison, which operates it under a short-term contract with NRG Energy, applied in 2014 to refurbish the 44-year-old combustion turbines to extend their lifespan by 30 years, to 2048.

The proposal includes a 10-year contract calling for NRG to operate the plant under Edison’s direction.

Edison spokesman Robert Laffoon-Villegas told Noozhawk that the utility company is seeking “to continue operations at the Ellwood facility to be able to provide safe electrical grid operations in the event that high-voltage transmission lines are not available to serve the greater Santa Barbara area.”

Edison wanted to use the peaker plant to help meet this long-term capacity and reliability requirement, though the independent organization that oversees California’s bulk electric-power system considered it an existing source, according to DeAngelis.

Read more:

Who in their right mind worries about whether a source of emergency power is “the most environmentally friendly source of emergency power“?

Do the people in charge of California’s electricity really think a little pollution is the most pressing issue, if a surge in demand or major outage deprives vital facilities such as hospitals and aged care homes of their electricity supply?

Words fail me over the commission’s acceptance that solar storage can replace hundreds of megawatts of reliable emergency backup power.

In my opinion this kind of idiocy likely makes the job of power engineers virtually impossible. Lets just say if I was a power engineer experiencing the despair of trying to stabilise the grid in such impossible circumstances, I would be dusting off my copy of “Atlas Shrugged“.

190 thoughts on “California Rejects Gas Plant Refurbishment, Embraces Solar + Storage

  1. Will the last sane person to leave CA please turn out the lights?
    Assuming there’s still enough power left for any of ;them to be on.

    • Yeah, no lights, just leave. Hopefully your car is not electric or leaving the state will be moot.

      • Speaking of which, how long till Griff pops ;up to claim that this action proves that renewables are stable and you don’t need fossil plants to provide peaking power?

      • Maybe so from Ausland; specially South Australia, which also believes in energy hara-kiri.
        But NZ is not remotely like California; and also is probably energy sufficient in mostly renewables (Hydro).
        As one who did the NZ-Cal journey, when this really was the Golden State, I can tell you I wouldn’t repeat that error in judgment.
        But I would still be up for a NZ-USA move but to some sane place like Couer d’Alene or maybe Montana.

    • I wonder if people realise that its no longer an offense in California to not tell a sexual partner that you have HIV but
      California is on its way to passing a new law that makes it illegal to call transgender senior citizens a pronoun they don’t like. For example, if an elderly person who was born male and lives in a long-term care facility wishes to be called “her” or “she,” the workers there had better do it or face the consequences. The proposed law would even apply to Christian facilities.

  2. Just watch Australia self distract with the same type of lunacy over here. South Australia is a case in point but I’m just waiting for the day for an even greater system collapse and that will be more than the SA State system black a year ago. (I am an electrical power engineer but fortunately do not have the task of operating the electricity system).

    • There was an article at the Sydney Morning Herald last week, maybe the week before, about the Elon Musk battery being nearly 50% installed well before his 100 day deadline. The article stated it would supply power to 300,000 homes. It’s not until you get in to the detail you find out the 100MWh Musk battery will not supply 300,000 homes for long. It won’t be long when we see this fail in a spectacular way.

      • Question? How long will it take to recharge this 100MWh battery? and how much juice will it draw from an already dodgy electricity grid?

      • I suggest that Elon’s 50% complete will morph into 90%, then 95%, then 98%, then 99%, then 99.5%, then 99.6%, then 99.7, then 99.75, then 99.78, etc, etc.

      • There’s the old software engineering saying: “The first 90% of the job takes 90% of the time. The rest of the job takes the OTHER 90%”.

      • 100 MWh would power 300,000 toaster ovens for about 20 minutes. Better get it while you can because it won’t last long.

      • There’s another old software engineering rule that says: “When writing software; no matter where in the process you start, it is always necessary to do something else first ! ”
        Works for doing almost anything actually.

      • @mwhite
        Probably about 4-5 hours. IIRC, the delivery rate is 20-25MW. This would also be the max charging rate.

    • Is “self distract” a typo or intentional. Either word (distract / distruct) would be appropriate ….

      • Paddy,
        It’s a typo – I meant to type self-destruct but somehow ended up with distract. However, as you say, distract is appropriate too – distraction from the true issues of too little inertia on the system, the rapid change that occurs with wind and solar power, and the great difficulty in balancing the system particularly when an incident occurs such as the loss of a major generator or a line fault. In addition there is a complete failure at a management level to recognise the importance of the fundamental swing equation that determines the rate of change of frequency on the system when an incident occurs.
        RoCoF = df/dt = ∆P/2H × fo
        Where ∆P=Size of contingency (MW lost), H=System inertia (MW seconds), fo=frequency at time of disturbance (Hz) and df/dt=rate of change of frequency (Hz per sec)
        When the initial RoCoF is too high, the control systems cannot counteract the swing and the system will be lost which is what happened in SA a year ago. But in an effort to keep the SA system on-line, the market operator is scheduling a minimum amount of gas fired generation and curtailing wind when there is “too much” of it. And guess what, yet more wind generators are being installed! Talk about insanity, then again we have no electrical power engineers at senior levels in our market operator (AEMO) or market commission (AEMC) or energy regulator (AER). They are all lawyers, economists or generalists. But we do have a couple of prize imports from North America who apparently have played the same games there without the damage that they will most likely inflict here before going home.
        Another “bonus” from installing vast amounts of so called renewable energy, (BTW at hugely subsidised rates), is that the protection systems on the now weak system most likely will not operate properly. And so the boneheaded experiment continues as our national politicians juggle with the game of who can promise the most amount of renewable generation.

      • Well, lol, Acer, your typo is good, but, it’s nothing to “Dear Fiends” (elsewhere on this thread). lolol 🙂 Very good comment by you, btw.

  3. They should take a look at South Australia to see the bleak future that awaits they down this dark and lonely path. If they use an Elon Musk battery, they will live to regret it.

  4. I will not retire in CA. I will make my money, and retire somewhere else in America. That the liberals hijacked the land that I love, and is driving state to insanity and out of business is sad.
    More people and money will leave the state, leaving it with an ever increasing concentration of takers and burdensome regulation. I will not be sad when CA finally collapses.

    • California already has a bundle of “You can’t bring Out-of-State stuff in here. ” laws.
      So don’t put it past Jerry Brown, to pass a law prohibiting moving any assets outside of California boundaries.

      • Dear Mr. Smith,
        That may well happen. However, such a law would be void ab initio.. Just the same as if Brown passed a law saying that all Californians must tithe 10% of their income into his own personal bank account, such a law would be as if it never existed, i.e., a nullity.
        The stalinistic border checkpoints (none leaving CA for Oregon, just coming in… really gives a new person coming in to live there a good feel for the creepiness of the place from the get go, I can tell you!) of CA can only demand you hand over goods that, even though pretty far-fetched in many cases, have a rationally based “injury” potential to CA citizens (like fruit pests/diseases or rabies-carrying pets).
        Thus, Mario need have no fear of taking his assets with him when he accelerates up the road toward freedom.
        I must say, though, that, given that CA is, for Mario, the land that I love, this is all very sad. Home is where your heart is. Yes, he will likely be with at least a loved one or two wherever he goes, thus, his heart will be where they are, for where they are will be “home.” Nevertheless, as he looks ahead toward the distant horizon beyond which begins “my retirement years” he does this, even now, I think, with a heavy heart, for he knows that he will be leaving the land he loves. When you cannot live where your heart is, you wander the earth, never truly “home.” Believe me, I know. And it makes, to some degree, every place you live “bleak” (and I do not at all like “bleak”). So, I feel for Mario (and all Californians in his position). Deeply.
        I want to honor those feelings, for it must not go unrecognized, just how devastating Brown, et al.’s policies are to the human beings who pay the taxes that put cash into his and his enviroprofiteer cronies’ pockets. This song captures those feelings (not that I presume to have precisely described Mario’s feelings — I realize that I may be a bit off there):
        Hodel singing “Far from the Home I Love”

        (youtube — “Fiddler on the Roof”)
        Oh, what a melancholy choice this is.
        Wanting home, wanting him…

        Wanting “the land I love,” wanting freedom… . Freedom or “home” is a choice no one should ever have to make. That Californians are having to make it is a shame. And very sad.
        Hoping that you are doing well, George Smith (and not getting ripped off by the “organic” sc@mmers at the farmer’s market, heh),
        Your WUWT pal,
        Janice 🙂
        P.S. I’m so glad that you posted today — I was just thinking a couple hours ago (as the thought in general of losing people connected with WUWT), “I wonder if George Smith is still with us; I wish he would post so I know he’s okay.” And here you are. Hope you are “okay”…

      • Well, Janice, in that vein, here’s mine. Nate’s remnants passed near me and close enough to knock me off the internet for about 24 hours. The electric power stayed on. Damage from the storm knocked a key node offline and contributed to my DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem’s failure. The node came back up and with a replacement modem I’m back on line and Charter gave me a speed upgrade at the same price (maybe, I’ll see when the bill comes in next month).

  5. Shoot, ready, aim once again. I’m sure they’ll blame the consequences of this on AGW. You’d think after the desalination boondoggle Santa Barbara would learn.

  6. The “Clean Coalition” claims storage is more economic than a gas plant? I would love to see their analysis, and I guess they use a social cost of carbon element in their rationale.

    • the social cost and externality costs are the biggest costs –
      also note the fossil fuel companies would be unprofitable if they didnt receive all the subsidies/ at least that what they say at skeptical science. (bu skeptical science is trying to outdo the onion

      • Except, here, Joe — there is no genuine, significantly harmful, externality. You’ve applied a concept useful for genuine pollution, such as sulphur dioxide to plant food.
        And re: petroleum industry “subsidies” — THERE ARE NONE. (Still think so? Heh. Just see how many credible sources you can find which prove your assertion. I feel bad assigning that task to you, for you will waste many hours trying to find one. Hm. On the other hand…. it will lead you, in the end to the truth, so, it will be a journey worth taking (just don’t stubbornly keep on a-goin’ loooong after it is obvious you are on the wrong road and you won’t waste too much time)..

      • The Greens love to treat federal tax deductions that *all* businesses in the country can take as subsidies for oil companies, while ignoring the real subsidies their pet energy projects receive.

      • To the left, everything belongs to the government, therefore when they allow you to keep even part of what you have earned, it’s a subsidy.

      • You are correct that no other industry gets to deduct the cost of drilling a well.
        On the other hand, every industry gets to deduct the cost creating new assets, it just that the method is different for every industry.
        Being able to deduct business expenses is not and never will be a subsidy.

      • Janice – I didnt think I needed to add the obvious sarc tag – especially since I mentioned skeptical science

      • Joe you couldn’t be more wrong.
        Fossil fuel companies don’t get subsidies. They get to keep some of their own money in tax breaks to compensate for the depreciation of their property values as they remove the oil from under it. A subsidy is when the government gives you other peoples tax money to throw away on useless unreliable wind or solar power. Fossil fuel companies actually earn money and pay many billions of dollars in taxes to the government every year.

    • San Diego Gas and Electric (SDGE) has installed a 30MW battery storage facility consisting of 400,000 lithium/ion batteries for use during peak outages. This was built next to a NG powered generating station also meant for use during peak loads..
      Also, local solar power companies are emphasizing the rebate from the state under the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) which ca amount to $400/kWh of installed battery capacity.

    • The “Clean Coalition” claims storage is more economic than a gas plant? I would love to see their analysis, and I guess they use a social cost of carbon element in their rationale.

      It’s simple.
      Mandate that every home in California have a couple of thousand rechargeable AA batteries that are always charged. When the power goes out or there is a Moonbean …er… Brown Out, just flip a switch on your circuit box to re-power the grid!

      • “Mandate that every home in California have a couple of thousand rechargeable AA batteries that are always charged. ”
        Quick, Buy shares in a Chinese battery producer. What could possibly go wrong ! 🙂

  7. This is going to greatly increase electricity costs in an already artificially inflated market. The poor are not going to be able to afford this. As a result, California is probably going to create some scheme where the poor get subsided power on the backs of the middle class. If they want to do this, fine, they are going to either have to ask the poor to leave or become a state where the middle class flees and the only thing left are the very rich and their gardeners and maids.

    • Folks are always modifying history, it isn’t just limited to climate records. 🙂
      At one point most American cities hollowed out. At the time my understanding was that folks who were able to fled into the suburbs. This was because cities were responsible for welfare payments. That pushed up taxes in the cities and made the suburbs an attractive proposition because they didn’t have a large population on welfare and therefore the taxes were lower.
      The counter example would be Canada where welfare was the responsibility of the provinces. That meant that people wouldn’t get cheaper taxes in the suburbs … and guess what … Canadian cities didn’t hollow out.
      Of course, these days the explanation involves ‘white flight’ and is explained by racism.
      I think it is quite possible that the middle class will abandon California because they can’t afford to live there. As always, the social justice warriors will explain that it is because of white privilege and racism.
      The smoke billowing out my ears and nostrils tells me that I should have another glass of wine before bed. /rant

      • The only difference between cities being responsible of provinces/states being responsible, is how hard it is for the middle class to escape the oppressive taxes.
        The end result is always the same, it just takes a bit longer.

      • I am not sure the welfare taxes are the only reason for people fleeing the downtown core for the suburbs. We have suburbs in Canada too. Where I am, in Ottawa – and I think it’s similar for other cities – living downtown tends to be more expensive in terms of dollars/land area. This is because downtown is desirable, and close to everything. It also tends to be where the homeless, the drug addicts, and the gangs congregate. So young single people tend to live in apartments downtown, because that’s where the action and the other single people are, and everyone else moves to the suburbs as soon as they are ready to raise a family, because no one wants to raise a family in drug-addicted gangland. Then they grow roots out in the ‘burbs, and tend to stay.
        We don’t have quite as much of a racial divide here as in some parts of the USA but there is some. Enough that everyone’s problems still end up getting blamed on white men 🙂

    • Repeating my post below …
      Uh … I thought the CA PUC’s job was to regulate monopolistic utilities for the SOLE purpose of PROTECTING the Ratepayers. As in keeping our rates LOW! There is NO form of “green” energy that keeps my rates LOW! The CA PUC has completely lost the plot

      • Government organizations always become captured by the politicians and the fact that they are a government imposed monopoly means that the consumers have no options.
        This is why allowing government to control economic activity is always a bad idea.

  8. “Who in their right mind worries about whether a source of emergency power is the most environmentally friendly source of emergency power?”
    Those who have access to moonbeam power, of course.

  9. The neighboring states are going to have a financial bonanza. 🙂
    Charge whatever they like for coal fired electricity sent to Calidopia.

    • Actually, here in Nevada, there are no longer subsidies for (new, at least) solar/wind. We still build them, though, and sell the power at a profit to California. I just moved from So Cal to Nevada. I can’t believe the savings in the electric bill, despite that electricity now covering the pumping and pressurizing of water. The 45% difference in the price we pay for electricity is very welcome!

  10. Want to force everyone to eventually have to buy an electric car, then have no means of generating electricity to charge said cars. Must be a left coast thing, as BC wants to do the same with delaying/cancelling their new hydro dam.

  11. I think the Gardeners and Maids may leave also leaving the very rich to do everything themselves which would be well deserved.

  12. this kind of idiocy likely makes the job of power engineers virtually impossible….

    It is, as we speak, along with economic illiterate labor, income tax, and other policies, making almost ANY job impossible in California.
    In California, costs to run a business are higher than in other states and nations — largely due to the state’s tax and regulatory policies — and the business climate shows little chance of improving,” [Joseph] Vranich writes.
    … Vranich focuses on what he calls “California divestment events” — decisions by homegrown businesses to move elsewhere or not to expand in-state, plus non-California firms that changed their minds about coming.
    Vranich counted some 1,510 such events from 2008 to 2014 and says that figure probably undercounts actual divestment by a factor of 5-to-1. So the real level is likely somewhere north of 9,000.
    the real reasons why businesses are leaving aren’t hard to figure out: California has the highest sales tax in the nation, the highest personal income tax, the highest corporate tax in the West and the second-highest gasoline tax.
    The state’s Proposition 13 tax revolt gets lots of attention because it limited property taxes on state residents. But guess what? At $1,426 per person, California property taxes still rank 19th in the nation.
    And that says nothing of regulation.
    California’s Environmental Quality Act … a bludgeon for left-wing politicians and green groups against businesses and private property owners.
    In some areas today, including Los Angeles, it’s nearly impossible to build a manufacturing facility because of environmental concerns. So those jobs go elsewhere — to low-tax, pro-business Texas, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Oregon, the Deep South and, increasingly, to foreign countries including Mexico, China and India. ***

    (Source: )
    All because of envirothugs like Musk and the solar sc@mmers and the wind hu$tler$.
    And my beautiful native state of Washington isn’t much better in many respects… if it weren’t for hydropower … <— (and the envirothugs want to stop THAT!!!)
    Sure wish Texas weren't so ugly…
    (well, lol, actually, I've changed re: "ugly" — now that I have lived where it is ugly and sunny for 2 years, I now know that I would rather live where it is ugly and sunny than beautiful and RAINY FOR 9 MONTHS OUT OF THE YEAR (so sick of rain!!!). Well, lol, if I were wealthy, I'd have TWO homes! 🙂 3 months in WA and 9 months in ???)
    Sorry so long. No one to talk to except Davy dog… I must say, though, he is a good listener. 🙂

    • Parts of Texas are ugly, (unless you like bleak), but it is a rather large state. Parts of California are pretty, but take a drive down interstate 5, and get an example of ugly.

        • The great advantage of Texas over California is a good deal fewer California politicians ( we do have a few in Austin and Houston).

      • Now don’t be encouraging any more migration from CA to Texas. Those left coast immigrants have driven the price of real estate high enough already. Oddest thing, Californians move to a different location, and then want to change it into California.

      • Parts of Texas are ugly, (unless you like bleak), but it is a rather large state.
        Rather large in that El Paso is closer to San Diego than Beaumont.
        But ugly, yes. Definitely. Lions, tigers, bears, hurricanes, droughts, floods, fire ants, feral hogs, Austin politicians, cowboy hats.
        Stay in California. Yessir, you’d hate Texas. Don’t come here.

      • jvcstone – Aint it the truth! I was amused by a sign in a local (Sparks, NV) postal services shop: “We don’t CARE how they do it in California!” If it was so great in Kali, then why did they leave? I know I left because I was sick and tired of the nanny state, the stupid laws and environmental regulations, high taxes, etc. Why would I bring that crap to NV?

    • At the end of the 20th Century, many Californians migrated north to Washington State – particularly west of the Cascade Mountains, and they effectively turned the state blue. East of the Cascades remains red.

      • Back in the 60’s lots hippies migrated to CA. “California Dreaming”. When their pipe dreams began to be realized and became a nightmare, they moved. (Or became teachers and politicians)

    • And like our federal government California government, even with its extremely high tax rates, apparently they still do not have enough money to do all the bizarre things they do so it continues to borrow. As they give the rest of the country the elitist finger and preach how we should imitate them what are they going to do when their debts reach crisis or they demand the rest of us clean up for them after the magnitude 8 earthquake hits. OR their electric grid collapses under their continually stupid decisions.

    • “Sorry so long. No one to talk to except Davy dog… I must say, though, he is a good listener. :)”
      That’s OK, Janice. When I first went to the Pacific North West as a grad student, I thought the sheeting winter rains and grey skies were a bit like where I had come from in NW England, only brighter, warmer, and less windy. It really did make me feel less homesick, while the endogenous East-coast students were getting ready to hang themselves from climate-depression.

  13. Uh … I thought the CA PUC’s job was to regulate monopolistic utilities for the SOLE purpose of PROTECTING the Ratepayers. As in keeping our rates LOW! There is NO form of “green” energy that keeps my rates LOW! The CA PUC has completely lost the plot.

    • The only reason why the utilities are monopolies is because the government created them as monopolies.

  14. Does anyone remember the rolling blackouts in 2000-2001 that helped the Govinator to defeat Gray Davis in a recall election? Today’s silliness concerning renewables and emissions trading makes those blackouts look benign.

  15. If I understand correctly and the most at risk area, given this strategy, is Santa Barbara then that seems a nice karmic balance really. Probably be a long gap between decision and consequences though.

  16. If I was King of California, I would stop building any more wind or solar farms.
    I would build some nuclear power plants for electricity. I would build some more hydro dams – especially in the upper NW area where they get the most rainfall every year.
    Also I would build coal or natural gas power plants – whichever is cheapest.
    Anyone want to vote for me in CA…???

  17. My best friend’s wife is a californianer and he says they’re all quite mad there.
    Now aside from the slight generalisation may one know to what degree this statement is accurate?

    • It’s down to indoctrination in schools. In france it’s the same. We have a mad socialist regime enhanced by communists in brussels. I’ve banged my head against their ineptitude many times. It is frustrating and incomprehensible how embedded the green doctrination has become.

  18. THat gas plant can produce power indefinitely. Exactly how much storage do they claim will be enough to replace the gas plant? What happens when the storage is exhausted , which apparently they believe cannot happen? What kind of storage are they referring to and where is the solar power coming from – it had better be from a desert.

    • Arthur4563
      Your point is a good one. Putting a storage unit into a system without enough power total is solving what, exactly?
      The only power ‘available’ is the excess wind and solar that is tossed around at the time of generation. So with storage it can be accumulated, maybe 80% of it max.
      Removing a primary, a base load source is a bad decision. To remove a ‘compensation station’ is to remove a supplementary base load source. To install a battery adds a ‘peak generation’ clipper that stores the clipped peaks.
      So…who says removing a compensation station is equalled by storing theoretical clipped peaks. Were there any clipped peaks at all? Is there excess renewable generating capacity? Under all conditions? Surely not. What is the gap that must be filled.
      I don’t see much evidence in the discussion that they gave this much thought. I guess in California things can be run on emotions. Hollywood does.

  19. Do the people in charge of California’s electricity really think a little pollution is the most pressing issue, if a surge in demand or major outage deprives vital facilities such as hospitals and aged care homes of their electricity supply?

    No. It’s actually even worse. They can’t even understand the question.

  20. California uses an eighth of its electricity just to move water. It has a lot of elevation changes between its mountains, valleys and passes. Place a lot of water storage at the elevated passes and you have the potential for a lot of pumped hydro buffer for both water and electricity. Is that what they are doing? Don’t know but there are some older reservoirs that can do this. They’ll likely do batteries….until one springs a leak and someone reads the MSDS sheet on the chemicals leaking out.

  21. Cali-venezu-straila (California plus Venezuela plus South Australia) the first state to openly work toward enviromentally friendly poverty for all (except the ruling class). If one were a dog or a cat, now is the time to leave.

  22. So this ‘storage’ – is this Elon building a battery by any chance?
    Why might I be concerned?
    My electric cordless drill seems to want a pair of fresh (18 Volt Lithium) batteries. There they are on good ol’ ebay, £36 each.
    Being a recently retired peasant (mean with money) and with an electronic training, thought I’d rebuild my batteries with 5 new (18650) cells. The cells that drive electronic cigarettes seem to be ‘the right sort’ and come in at £20 per for the whole job. Versus £72
    It says on the new batteries, ‘don’t do this, don’t do that. don’t do the other’
    That’s fine, gotta treat these fuggers right.
    In the event that you do actually do do one of these do nots, buy a new battery.
    In the event that you get to 24 months without doing a do not, get a new battery anyway.
    So, I think we can all see Elon’s game plan now. He’s giving away his batteries for now but, in 2 years time and once you’re hooked, will insist you buy a fresh one. or two or more.
    The oldest trick in the foot-in-the-door salesman’s book.
    And he’ll get away with it because folks now are on such a hair-trigger for out and out panic.
    See Euston Station in London recently. Very big & important place and through the daytime, invariably packed with people.
    Someone’s e-cigarette went bang. Presumably they did one of the ‘do not do’ sort of things.
    Just one 18650 cell cannot make that much of a bang, Can it?
    Apparently the place just erupted into a mass of screaming, crying and utterly panic stricken people in a mad stampede for the/a/any way to get out of there. Folks reported being genuinely scared for their lives. Not by the original bump but by the ensuing stampede.
    Maybe a year or 2 ago, another e-cig switched itself on inside someone’s bag while riding an inter-city coach.
    Before anybody had a clue what was happening, the motorway had been closed, armed police were everywhere and the bus passengers were sitting on the concrete, in neat regimented rows and under orders (by armed police) to stay there with their hands behind their heads.
    Is that the card that super salesman Elon is gonna play, send our elders, betters and erstwhile leaders into a panic where they ‘have to do something fast’?
    Not least, being a major London terminus that Lithium battery exploded, some of our leaders, their advisers, secretaries,office staff and law enforcers(?) were part of that blind panic.
    And you know me by now – sugar was the root cause.

  23. I note with interest that Elon Musk is building his Gigafactory in Nevada.
    Could it be it is because California’s electricity is 58% higher.

  24. It’s worth reminding us of a previous California “mandate”. The California wizards of smart passed a law requiring that ten percent of all vehicles sold in California were required to be powered by electricity, starting in the year 2000. This led General Motors, for instance, to develop the GM EV. It was a lead-acid battery powered two-seater. The development costs were well over $2 billion, and that was in the days that $2 billion was a lot of money. Who knows if keeping it might have prevented the GM bankruptcy several years later.
    What happened? California buyers were simply not interested in electric vehicles. No other car companies even offered any for sale. Few EVs were sold, and in fact, GM wound up offering them for lease for very low monthly cost, and even few of those were signed. So, finally after all that waste, the wizards of smart changed the law.

    • My memory of that differs. GM designed the ugliest car possible, refused to sell them to willing customers, ran their experiment for two years then recalled the cars and crushed them over the objections and organized protests of the users.
      See the movie ‘Who killed the electric car’. The threat to GM is mortal: EV’s cost next to nothing to run and maintain, except for the batteries, and GM doesn’t make batteries.

  25. Excerpts from published article:

    Administrative Law Judge Regina DeAngelis wrote in a non-binding ruling that other regional power-generators can better provide the extra energy resiliency the CPUC wants for the area, and that the plant may not be the most environmentally friendly source of emergency power during a local blackout.

    It doesn’t surprise me in the least that Judge Regina would render her decision based solely on “environmentally friendliness” simply because it is a biological hereditary FACT that the females of a species are predisposed to making “emotional decisions” that benefit the survival of their offspring …… rather than making “logical decisions” that benefit the survival of the members of their specie, tribe, clan or family.

    “The record reflects that Ellwood is a highly polluting resource permitted to emit as much as 103.59 pounds per hour of nitrogen oxide — which is over 20 times the normal emission rate of a modern peaking unit with modern emission controls,” ….. she wrote.

    It appears that Judge Regina is guilty of making additional “emotional decisions” by ruling against the current status of a natural-gas-powered “peaker” plant in Goleta, California, ….. without any regard or consideration of said “status” after renovations are completed.
    HA, ….. the “glass ceiling” was invented by managers of private enterprise to weed-out the “emotional” decision making “managerial” job applicants.
    The same consideration is never an issue with political appointees and seldom ever with elected individuals. On the contrary, “emotional decision” makers are far more likely to get “elected” than are “logical decision” makers.

    • Samuel C C
      Whilst your argument, in this case, may have merit, there will be those who will ridicule it [and you, perhaps].
      If you do not have one, I suggest you invest in double-layer cooking foil inlay for your two favourite hats! Very soon.
      And that, incidentally, will prevent the KGB [and successor organisations) from reading your thoughts, too.
      Always ready to recommend using cooking foil.
      Mods – think. Is this /SARC??
      Mods – help for you: it is /SARC!!

      • Auto – October 8, 2017 at 12:15 pm

        Samuel C C
        Whilst your argument, in this case, may have merit, there will be those who will ridicule it [and you, perhaps].

        Auto, it matters not one twit what I or anyone else posts as authored commentary because there will always be someone who will criticize or ridicule a part or portion of said commentary and/or the author of said commentary. And there are hundreds of different reasons why said “contrarians” are disagreeable,
        Also saidith: Auto

        If you do not have one, I suggest you invest in double-layer cooking foil inlay for your two favourite hats! Very soon.

        Huuuuuuummmmm, …… you do have a problem, ….. don’tja Auto?
        In your previous sentence you stated that my commentary “may have merit” ….. and in you above sentence you specifically infer that my commentary is utterly FUBAR and a prime example of Science Fiction rhetoric.
        Sorry, Auto, my posted commentary is filled with “merit”, but you have to be learned enough to realize that fact.
        In 95+-% of all higher animal species the female of the species is the primary “caregiver” of the offspring ….. and that is because she is recipient of a genetically “inherited survival instinct” that pretty much forces her to …… “protect her offspring at all costs”, ….. even if it means harm or loss of her own life, …… simply because he actions in doing so insures “survival of the species”.
        And that is/was an “emotional decisions” being made by said female, …… and not a “logical decisions”, she has the option to birth more offspring, ……. but not if she is severely injured or dead.
        And that is why good female “managers” are far and few between …… because they do not let their “emotional” thoughts influence their major decision making.
        Remember, ……. “Hell hath no fury” …… like that of an emotional decision making PO’ed, scorned, rejected, embarrassed, etc., female.

      • When will Elon Musk go bankrupt? When will California’s energy grid collapse? Man, I’m getting impatient. Show me some damage!
        New York Times 2049 headline: Teslas to power California’s energy grid…

      • Steve from Rockwood – Elon will not go bankrupt. Tesla could. But Elon is firewalled from that.
        Meanwhile, here in Nevada, we are building lots of solar plants and selling the output to Kalifornia at premium rates. Should help offset the deal we made with Elon to build his Giga-factory here.
        For our own use, we use employ fossil fuels. Lower residential rates (45%) than what Kalifornian’s have to pay. But then, maybe all Kalifornians are wealthier than people in the other states, and are happy yo pay those rates.

  26. Not sure why people keep bothering with arguments, reason and logic in this case.
    The case in question is simple….the “king’ of Cal is literally and truly insane……
    How much longer it will take to realize this!
    The “king” has managed to subject his state and his people to legislation and policies dealing literally with cow farts…….making mister H..ler jealous too, with such insane achievements…..
    The “king” of insane does not seem to be the most insane one out there, regardless of first impression, but it happens to be the most desperate, stressed and most depressed insane one at the moment…..
    There is far much more insane and worse ones than this guy, out there….
    And funny enough, he and his cabal may be considering their and his “great” love for Cal as an excuse of the “king’s” insanity….
    The guy is plainly, literally, truly insane.

  27. This ruling is all for the good. Let California become one, big laboratory for what seems to be hare-brained schemes. Better there than my state. Let’s see what happens. I predict Cali — like Germany– will be one big, pustulant OBJECT LESSON.
    Lessons will be learned the hard way.

    • Failure seems to have no lasting effect on California politicians. The Governor, Grey Davis, was recalled partly over the 2000 blackouts, and the same group of yahoos are back into power.

      • Clearly there was not enough pain in 2000… but there is a pain thresh hold … you’ll know it when it’s reached…

  28. When I first started reading your article my first thought was. “We could really use a Galt’s Gulch about now”.

    • Then the power engineers experiencing the despair of trying to stabilise the grid in such impossible circumstances could head there instead of breaking out their copies of “Atlas Shrugged”. It’s time.

  29. Let me see if I have got this California energy policy straight…
    You go all renewable, because that will stop the world overheating.
    This increases energy costs.
    And manufacturing costs.
    So you move all California manufacturing to China, which is cheaper.
    Mainly because China uses coal power.
    China opens another ten coal power stations, to cope with California manufacturing.
    (All those Apple computers need a whole lot of energy to make.)
    China does not give a stuff about emissions.
    So each power station is twice as dirty and the old Californain ones.
    So California has:
    … impoverished its workers,
    … bankrupted its state finances,
    … doubled emissions,
    … and warmed the world by another degree.
    Did I get this policy right, or did I miss something…?

    • You can’t be serious. California is trying to replicate what China does.
      China leads climate! /sarc
      You can’t even joke on it because they are dead serious.

      • Some European elderly will, this winter, especially if is a harsh/cold one, become dead.
        Heat – or Eat.
        Can’t afford both.
        Dead serious.
        Unhappily, a projected aim of the Community Organiser’s desire for – what was it? – ‘skyrocketing’ energy prices.
        Reduce the global population – Step 1; reduce the rate of increase.
        That is – get more to die.
        [The abortion project isn’t doing all we wanted it to do, yet.]
        Auto – a realist who has had his rose-tinted glasses removed . . .

    • Yes, you missed something.
      California will become a “Sanctuary State” thereby reducing it’s manufacturing cost in an attempt to keep jobs (even if not American citizens) in California.

    • You missed China now cares about pollution from coal plant and reducing CO2 and cancelling and closing coal power plants

  30. Electric rate in CA are already near the top (if not at the top) among the contiguous states. The idiots running this state are either completely insane or diabolically evil. They don’t seem smart enough to be the latter …

    • Oh no! It is intentional, to encourage conservation, which all good people know is the solution to all problems./sarc

      • Ah yes, conservation promoted as an emotional argument.
        The idiots don’t understand that demand elasticity from increasing cost is only relevant to discretionary spending which the medical community (especially big pharma) discovered a long time ago.

      • This reminds me of when I lived in Madison, WI (14 square miles of progressives surrounded by reality). There was an article in the local paper that listed tax rates or total tax burden by state and WI was ranked #3 or #4 highest. The actual commentary in the article was “We’re not #1! We have room to grow!” That’s when I first realized that liberalism is a mental disorder.

  31. The coastal big city greens who dominate the politics of California, Oregon, and Washington want all of their electricity to come from non-nuclear renewable resources, wind and solar. They don’t particularly care if most of the open ground of eastern Washington State, eastern Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming must be covered with windmills and with solar panels for their visionary dreams to come true.
    What’s more, the coastal big city greens aren’t alone in holding these visionary dreams. The inland greens who are now gaining ever greater political influence in Washington State, in Oregon, and in Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming seem to have no problem with covering large areas of their respective states with windmills and with solar panels, regardless of the environmental consequences.
    I had a conversation last weekend with a friend who works at Portland General Electric’s 500 Mw coal-fired power plant near Boardman, Oregon, concerning where the region’s future power supply will be coming from. The state of Oregon has outlawed coal-fired generation and has dictated that the Boardman plant must close by 2020, even though the plant was designed to a service life specification that could allow it to operate until 2040.
    PGE wants to replace the Boardman plant with a gas-fired equivalent located on the same site, a plant which would complement another gas-fired plant already operating there. However, it is already evident that Oregon will not give PGE permission for a gas-fired replacement and will force the utility to purchase either more renewable power from wherever PGE can get it, and/or to purchase more hydropower if any of that power is still available.
    What this man tells me is that the region’s wind farms are already causing considerable difficulties for power dispatchers in keeping the grid within PGE’s service area stable. He says that if the 500 Mw capacity of the Boardman plant isn’t replaced with something equally as dependable and reliable, then we here in this area of the US Northwest could begin to feel the effects of renewable-induced grid instability as early as 2021.
    Even with all our hydropower, he predicts that load-shedding done to keep the US Northwest’s power grid up and operating under high demand, low supply conditions will become a more frequent occurrence as the decade of the 2020’s moves forward.
    What will happen next after that, on into the late 2020’s and the early 2030’s?
    What is most likely to happen is that the cost of electricity will continue to rise, and the grid in the US Northwest will continue to become more unstable. And, as has happened in Australia, the coastal big city greens here in America will succeed in blaming the rising cost of electricity and the increasing number of brownouts and blackouts on market manipulation perpetrated by the region’s privately owned power companies to keep energy profits high.
    The greens will then push for even faster adoption of the renewables, arguing that it is the only solution that has any chance of working. And more likely than not, millions of voters in the large coastal cities who don’t understand what it takes to produce a reliable supply of electricity will buy that argument, and so high capacity baseload power generation will continue to disappear from the power grid.

  32. Does California have excessive natural gas based electrical generation capacity? If not, it is by default out sourcing its grid stabilization generation needs to the adjacent states.

  33. Nothing like demanding that the utilities use storage which does not exist yet to solve the problem of intermittancy. In about 2 years, black outs! Interesting that they HAD a problem with blackouts some years ago and learned nothing. Also, it is rank idiocy because they import electricity from 4 corners which is coal and this gas plant would be much cleaner.

  34. Why is pollution regarded as so unimportant? “Long-term exposure to nitrogen oxides in smog can trigger serious respiratory problems, including damage to lung tissue and reduction in lung function. Exposure to low levels of nitrogen oxides in smog can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, and nausea”.
    It seems to me that if you can have a source of power/storage that does not produce this pollution it is a good thing.

    • The issue, in this case, is not nitrogen oxide pollution (with refurbishing, the plant would apparently have been within EPA safe levels). Rather, the activist court, here:

      reject{ed} the application to refurbish the Ellwood plant, on the grounds that refurbishing the plant would not contribute to greater energy reliability.

      This is nonsense, given current (or likely to be discovered anytime soon) solar, wind, i.e., “renewables.” and battery storage technology.
      The Edison plant = FAR greater energy reliable.
      The “pollution” the activist court is concerned about (thus, serving the interests of the enviroprofiteers, most of whom know better and are cynically profiting off of public ignorance) is human CO2 emissions.

      • “The record reflects that Ellwood is a highly polluting resource permitted to emit as much as 103.59 pounds per hour of nitrogen oxide — which is over 20 times the normal emission rate of a modern peaking unit with modern emission controls,” she wrote.
        I don’t know where you got the “apparently have been within EPA safe levels” idea, but even so, the plant would still contribute pollution that is bad for human health.

      • Re:

        the plant would still contribute pollution that is bad for human health.

        Prove it. The burden of proof is on you. Edison has met the prima facie case by asserting that its refurbishment would make it safe to operate.

      • “But that switch would greatly reduce pollution that is harming our country right now. Switching from coal to natural gas would reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 90 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by more than 60 percent. These compounds are major causes of fine particulate pollution. Reductions on this level would lower the total cost of national annual human health damages by US$20 billion to $50 billion annually. We found that the Southeast and the Ohio Valley, where most of the coal is burned, would capture the lion’s share of these benefits.”
        Therefore it is a cost to human health.

      • Try again, Mr. Preece. Your evidence does nothing to prove your assertion about Edison and its proposal to refurbish.

      • Geoffrey, you do know that humans exhale oxides of nitrogen, as well as all of the other mammals and maybe all life forms that use oxygen for energy.

      • Cdquaries – I’m pretty sure we inhale N2 and exhale N2, (inert gas in, inert gas out) no oxides. If you can show me something that says otherwise, I’d be happy to be corrected.

      • “I’m pretty sure we inhale N2 and exhale N2, (inert gas in, inert gas out) no oxides.”
        Wrong, as usual.
        Analysis of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the exhaled breath condensate (EBC) of subjects with asthma as a complement to exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) measurements: a cross-sectional study
        “Exhaled nitric oxide
        In medicine, exhaled nitric oxide (eNO) can be measured in a breath test for asthma or other conditions characterized by airway inflammation. Nitric oxide (NO) is a gaseous molecule produced by certain cell types in an inflammatory response. The fraction of exhaled NO (FENO) is a promising biomarker for the diagnosis, follow-up and as a guide to therapy in adults and children with asthma. The breath test has recently become available in many well-equipped hospitals in developed countries, although its exact role remains unclear.

      • Interesting – that says:
        “As a limiting case, we analyzed a switch of all USA coal plants to natural gas plants, occurring in 2016. The human health benefits of such a switch are substantial: SO2 emissions are reduced from the baseline (MATS (Mercury and Air Toxics Standard) retrofits by 2016) by more than 90%, and NOX emissions by more than 60%, reducing total national annual health damages by $20 – $50 billion annually.”

    • Interesting indeed:
      “Are wind and solar killing grid reliability? No, not where the grid’s technology and regulations have been modernized. In those places, overall grid operation has improved, not worsened.”

  35. Grid scale batteries respond more quickly than gas peaker plants to provide grid stabilisation…
    Frequency response is needed in cases of sudden demand or when California’s solar drops rapidly as people get home in the evening. Batteries will do a better, quicker, job in those cases, which would be for hours at most…
    emergency backup might be a different thing. but batteries would pickup quickly if a power plant/supply of power went offline, for long enough to fire up a fossil fuel plant for longer term cover.
    If the SA battery system had been running and if the SA grid had been set up in same way as in Germany, the batteries would have covered and the wind farms would not have tripped.

    • “batteries would pickup quickly if a power plant/supply of power went offline, for long enough to fire up a fossil fuel plant for longer term cover.”
      Congratulations, now you’ve finally agreed that every last milliwatt of ‘Unreliable’ power from wind/solar/batteries will require to be covered by a milliwatt of thermal plant. That wasn’t difficult, was it?
      So we might as well have just used the cheap, reliable thermal plant 24/7/365 and saved the cost of the ‘Unreliables’ to spend on something really useful, supplying clean drinking water to the billion or two Third World children that have no access to it.
      But hey, there’s not as much street cred in merely saving the lives of a few million kids as there is in ‘Saving the World®’ , is there?

      • I don’t think you understand how this works…
        Obviously the solar power tails of as night approaches: batteries allow that rapid transition to be managed.
        you understand also that renewable energy is absolutely predictable?
        And of course there is a need to reduce CO2 output behind all of this as prime driver… which there’s no point in trying to convince you of. but try a thought experiment: assume that it was necessary to reduce CO2 -would the current renewables plans be a sensible response? (absent nuclear which is too expensive at this time)

      • “I don’t think you understand how this works…”
        After spending my whole rather successful career as an engineer covering various fields, with responsibility for projects – including the supply of energy – worth more money than you even know exists, I know very well indeed exactly how this stuff works, you patronising, pig ignorant little buffoon.
        “you understand also that renewable energy is absolutely predictable?”
        No Skanky, I know absolutely nothing of the sort, I am utterly certain that renewable energy is not even close to 100.00% predictable, which is my understanding of the meaning of “absolutely”.
        I am furthermore utterly certain that you either don’t have the first clue what you’re wittering about, or that you are a very mendacious and thoroughly unpleasant individual indeed.
        On reflection, delete “either” and change that “or” to “and”.
        Now go and apologise for attempting to discredit Dr. Crockford’s scientific credentials.

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