The reactivation of non-nuclear generation plants and preparations to reduce peak power demands in the event of hot weather should ensure uninterrupted service if San Onofre remains offline, said FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff.
FERC regulates transmission and the wholesale electricity market, protecting the reliability of the high-voltage interstate grid.
“With the reports that I’ve read, I believe that there are adequate resources” for the summer, Wellinghoff said Monday after a speaking engagement in San Diego. “I think we’re going to be in fine shape.”
To compensate for the outage, utility companies and grid operators have reactivated two retired natural gas generators from the AES Huntington Beach plant. And state regulators have approved additional demand-response programs by Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric that reward consumers who cut consumption at the right time.
“There may be somewhat of a silver lining to this outage,” he said. “It can help us all better understand … the benefits from calling on those resources to be flexible.”
So-called demand-response programs that treat energy efficiency and conservation as a resource in its own right now offset roughly 10 percent of electricity demands in some areas of the eastern United States, Wellinghoff explained. Estimates by FERC say consumer response could eventually offset twice that share.
Those numbers could steer the future of nuclear power in states like California, which last week adopted the building standards for energy efficiency regarded as the most aggressive in the nation.
“You couple these things together and there certainly may be the opportunity to retire certain types of resources like nuclear facilities if the state were to chose to do so,” the FERC chairman said.
- SoCal in ‘fine shape’ for summer without San Onofre – UT San Diego 6/4/2012
- CEC Approves More Efficient Buildings for California’s Future – 5/31/2012
- CEC 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards
- 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards Rulemaking
- CEC California Energy Maps
- California Transmission Lines and Substations Lower Map (Southern California)