Tag: "san onofre"


  09:24:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 293 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, Solar News, SCE, Safety

Swan SONGS, Solar Spikes

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

Amidst news reports of the permanent closure of SCE’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), an important milestone was largely overlooked: last week solar power produced over 2,000 Megawatts to the grid - nearly the equivalent of the now silenced SONGS.

Before it was shut down over safety concerns in January, 2012, SONGS was capable of producing 2,200 MW of power onto the grid, enough to power approximately 1.4 million Southern California homes.  When the plant was taken offline, it created a large gap in the energy mix for the region and an old, gas-fired power plant in Huntington Beach was brought online to support the region - adding conventional air pollution and expanded CO2 emissions along with it.

What a difference a year makes.  From the press release issued the same day that SCE was announcing its decision, the California Independent System Operator (CALISO) reported that solar power peaked at 2,071 MW at 12:59 p.m. and noted:

“This new record is remarkable considering the amount has more than doubled since last September when solar peaked at 1,000 megawatts,” says Steve Berberich, California ISO President and CEO. “We are excited by this trend and expect to hit more record peaks on a regular basis.”

Remarkable indeed - doubling solar power production in under a year. And keep in mind that these are the solar resources administered by the ISO - that is, utility scale solar power plants.  Not reported in that peak production is all of the rooftop solar around the state, helping to hold down power demands while simultaneously lowering customers’ bills.

Renewable power production, June 7, 2013

Source: CALISO

Thanks in large part to the addition of more renewable sources, along with improved transmission infrastructure, the Huntington Beach facility is not expected to have to burn fuel this summer to stabilize the grid. (H/t, Devra Wang at NRDC.)

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  10:43:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 320 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, SCE

Green is Now: California's IOUs Hit RPS Target

While a meaningful national energy policy is nowhere to be found, California continues to lead the way, announcing that its three Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) have reached their intermediate target of 20% energy from renewables in 2011.  According to a Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Status Report just released by the California Public Utilities Commission, Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Pacific Gas & Electric each exceeded the 20% target for renewables in 2011.  Specifically, SCE lead the way with 21.1% of its energy delivered coming from eligible renewable sources, followed by 20.8% for SDG&G and 20.1% for PG&E.  Collectively, the three IOUs account for roughly 68% of the state’s electric retail sales.  Unfortunately, the report does not provide a breakdown of those numbers by type of renewable energy source.

Most of the gains are the result of utility-scale renewable energy products, but customer-side renewable energy generation - such as that created through the California Solar Initiative (CSI) - has also played an important role in two ways:

  • First, while the system owner of a customer-side facility generally retains ownership of the renewable energy credits (RECs), in some instances they can be sold to an IOU which can then count it toward the RPS goals.
  • Second, since customer-side generation reduces electrical demand that must be served by the IOU, it decreases the denominator in the percentage calculation thereby improving the reported RPS score.

Under the RPS, the IOUs must average 20% from 2011-2013, 25% from 2014-2016 and 33% by 2020.

Growth of renewables in California has been dramatic: between 2003 and 2011, 2,871 MW of renewable capacity came online, with over 300 MW coming online in the first half of 2012 alone.  But future growth stands to be even more dramatic with more than 2,500 MW scheduled to come online before the end of the year!  According to a report in Forbes, that is the equivalent at peak output to the electricity generated by five nuclear power plants - which is good news given the problems at San Onofre.


Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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