Revised Shortage 0910

The California Energy Commission this week revised its summer 2022 reliability outlook, which now shows California could be about 4,350 MW short of meeting demand next summer, rather than the previously forecast 5,200 MW.

California's electricity grid could be about 4,350 MW short of meeting demand next summer—a slight improvement over energy officials' recently forecast shortage of 5,200 MW.

In a worst-case scenario on an extreme-heat day, the state's grid would be about 287 MW short at 5 p.m. in September 2022; 3,627 MW short at 6 p.m.; and 4,350 MW short at 7 p.m. Officials could need to use contingency measures, such as large backup diesel generators, to make up for the supply shortage during those times, California Energy Commission staff member Angela Tanghetti said at the commission's Sept. 8 business meeting.

Last month, the CEC said the state could need more than 5,200 MW of energy resources to meet demand in September 2022 due to the ongoing severe drought, wildfire-related power outages and regional heat events (see CEM No. 1654).

However, experts told the commission that its original forecast was overly conservative: The CEC's assumed hydropower capacity reduction next summer was too high; economic imports were too low; and forced power plant outages were too high, they said.

The CEC's updated forecast adds about 2,500 MW of capacity related to various California Public Utilities Commission emergency procurement orders; the CEC's original forecast assumed about 1,400 MW in this area. The revised forecast also added about 1,250 MW of capacity from demand-response programs and imports from publicly owned utilities.

At the business meeting, the CEC also approved a new process to expedite approval of battery energy storage projects that are greater than 20 MW to help meet peak demand. A proposed battery storage project would need to be able to discharge electricity for at least two hours and provide net peak energy by Oct. 31, 2022, the commission's resolution says.

The resolution is part of Gov. Gavin Newsom's July 30 emergency proclamation that said the state could be thousands of megawatts short of capacity next summer. The commission last month approved a similar expedited approval process for proposed natural gas generator projects that are 10 MW or larger. A proposed natural gas generator project must be able to supply power to the grid to meet net peak demand before Oct. 31 (see CEM No. 1655).

The commission also approved several grants, including:

  • About $6 million for the Association for Energy Affordability to provide technical support and educational outreach for residential builders and developers participating in the state's Building Initiative for Low-Emissions Development, or BUILD, program. The BUILD program provides incentives for builders to use near-zero-emission equipment in low-income residential buildings. AEA will promote the program by educating stakeholders about the feasibility and benefits of building near-zero-emission and all-electric homes.
  • About $800,000 to various cities and organizations to develop plans to install electric-vehicle charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. For example, the City of Culver will spend $200,000 to develop a plan to install enough EV charging stations so that all of the city's medium- and heavy-duty fleet vehicles are EVs by 2028.
  • About $4 million to WattEV to install EV charging infrastructure and distributed energy resources at a truck stop in California. WattEV representatives will design and install 3.85 MW of solar-photovoltaic panels and at least 12 EV chargers on what will become the state's first public-access EV truck stop. The truck stop is expected to supply about 14,300 kWh per day by 2025, the award says.
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Staff Writer

David Krause is an energy reporter covering the California Energy Commission and Air Resources Board. He writes about transportation, climate change, utilities, and wildfires. He has an MFA in Writing, an MA in English, and a BS in Civil Engineering.