California could see tight summer supply: ISO

Monday, March 19, 2012

Southern California could face local reliability problems this summer if the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station remains offline throughout the peak demand months, according to a summer loads and resources assessment by the California Independent System Operator.

Bentek Energy analyst Anders Hyde said transmission constraints may ultimately limit the amount of power that can be imported into the state — particularly in Southern California. After that utilities will turn to local natural gas generation to meet their load, and they may even resort to oil-fired generators, to the extent that they can without violating emissions limits, Hyde said. Bentek Energy is a unit of Platts.

Right now California utilities have more gas stored away than normal. According to data from Bentek, PG&E storage was 138 Bcf on Friday, compared with a five-year average of 80 Bcf and 87 Bcf at the same point in 2011. SoCal Ed's storage was 98 Bcf, compared with a five-year average of 59 Bcf and 45 Bcf at the same point in 2011.

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