There will be no rolling blackouts this summer with San Onofre shut down. California’s electric grid operator has many options to prevent this. The California Independent System Operator (ISO) on 3/22/2012 presented this list of various actions that would mitigate the outage risk:
- Return Huntington Beach [gas plants] 3 & 4 to service
- Accelerate Barre-Ellis transmission upgrade
- Accelerate completion of Sunrise Powerlink [implemented 6/17/2012] and related outage planning
- Fully fund Flex Alerts and restart CPUC 20/20 program
- Fully utilize available demand response (e.g., as SCE air conditioner cycling)
- Seek additional military and public agency demand response
- Take longer-term steps to increase available demand response system-wide
3/22/2012 California ISO audio of Briefing on Summer 2012 Operations Preparedness
This 3/20/12 letter from S. David Freeman to the President of the ISO, Bob Foster, supports this:
“…[Bob], you and I have discussed how simple load management such as cycling air conditioners can reduce peak loads by large amounts. And you know we have all worked together to assure that blackouts never again happen in California. Under the leadership of the ISO, California is not and cannot be one power plant away from rolling blackouts…
… [the ISO should] put in place the efficiency and load management programs, that will in fact ‘keep the lights on’.
Mr. Freeman served as general manager of large public power agencies for two decades, including the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) from 1997 to 2001. Under his leadership, the DWP kept the rates level and lights on during California’s power crisis. He was also the Trustee involved in creating the original ISO Charter. He created and ran the California Power Authority, managed the Sacramento Municipal Utility District after the closure of the Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Plant, managed the Tennessee Valley Authority, and authored “Winning Our Energy Independence: An Energy Insider Shows How.
With that approach the ‘worst’ that can happen is that consumers would save a bunch of money.
The problems at San Onofre are serious enough to require the NRC to dispatch a team to the plant site to discover the cause of the problems. They don’t need the pressure caused by the fear of rolling blackouts fanned by the spokesman for the ISO. On the contrary both the utility and the NRC need to be encouraged to take all the time needed to find out the full extent of the problem and fix it if that is possible and cost effective.”