Thursday, April 3, 2014

California PUC Orders Replacement Power for Shut Down Nuclear Plant

California Public Utility Commission requires two utilities in Southern California to procure power that is either renewable, demand response resources, or energy efficiency to replace that which was removed when the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was closed due to premature tube failure.  Also, at least 75 MW of the new power must be from storage systems.  
San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station
San Onofre, California
source: wikipedia

More on this later, as this requires some contemplation, research, and reflection.   Text of the press release follows.  (see link for press release)

Media Contact: Terrie Prosper, 415.703.1366, Docket #: R.12-03-014


SAN FRANCISCO, March 13, 2014 - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in its 
ongoing mission to ensure safe and reliable utility service to customers, today directed Southern 
California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to procure energy supplies to meet 
Southern California needs, including from preferred resources (such as renewable power, Demand 
Response resources, and energy efficiency) or energy storage. 

SCE was ordered to procure between 500 and 700 megawatts (MW), and SDG&E to procure 
between 500 and 800 MW by 2022 to meet local capacity needs stemming from the retired San 
Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. 

Said Commissioner Mike Florio, who is the assigned Commissioner for the Long-Term Procurement 
Proceeding, “This groundbreaking decision begins the process of acquiring new resources to replace 
the 2,200 megawatts that the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station would have supplied. It 
authorizes SCE and SDG&E to procure up to 1,500 megawatts of new resources, at least 600 
megawatts of which must be from California’s preferred resources, namely renewable power, 
Demand Response resources, and energy efficiency. The CPUC and the utilities will work to ensure 
going forward that preferred resources can provide not just clean energy, but the essential reliability 
services that are needed to ensure a stable and reliable grid. This will put us firmly on the path 
toward meeting California’s greenhouse gas reduction goals by eventually phasing out the use of 
fossil fuels to generate electricity.” 

Added CPUC President Michael R. Peevey, “This action helps us move forward in meeting the electricity needs of Southern California now that the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is 
permanently closed. Our combination of preferred resources and some more conventional generation 
will help in making a more secure energy future for Southern California consumers.” 

Said Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval, “The shutdown of San Onofre was significant and 
unforeseen, but opened up opportunities for new technologies to take its place. Up to 1,500 
megawatts of the generation authorized to replace San Onofre can come from energy efficiency, 
Demand Response, renewable energy, and energy storage, in line with California’s vision for a 
healthier environment and economic sustainability. This decision provides flexibility while fulfilling 
the CPUC’s duty to ensure safe and reliable service at just and reasonable rates.” 

Said Commissioner Michael Picker, “Keeping the lights on is not just about comfort; it’s about 
safety and it’s about keeping our economy strong. The procurement plan that the CPUC adopted 
today is prudent and necessary for San Diego and south Orange County as we move forward from 
San Onofre and close many of the very old, dirty, and faltering natural gas plants in the area.” 

Today’s decision, combined with prior CPUC decisions aimed at ensuring energy supplies for 
Southern California, brings a total of 1,900 to 2,500 megawatts to the L.A. Basin from SCE, up to 60 
percent of which may come from preferred resources. SDG&E is required to procure at least 25 
percent and up to 100 percent of new local capacity from preferred resources. SCE and SDG&E are 
required to procure at least 50 megawatts and 25 megawatts, respectively, from energy storage. The 
CPUC’s actions thus far will offset the retirement of the 2,200 megawatt San Onofre Nuclear 
Generating Station and nearly 5,900 megawatts of once-through cooling plants. 
A previous CPUC decision determined that it was not feasible to rely solely on preferred resources to 
meet local energy needs and that conventional gas-fired resources must also be utilized in order to 
ensure reliability. The CPUC said it strongly intends to continue pursuing preferred resources to the 
greatest extent possible, but must always ensure that grid operations are not potentially compromised 
by excessive reliance on intermittent resources and resources with uncertain ability to meet need. The 
CPUC’s ongoing Resource Adequacy proceeding is exploring the ability of various preferred 
resources and energy storage to meet needs. Until that time, the CPUC must take a prudent approach to reliability, which entails a gradual increase in the level of preferred resources and energy storage 
into the resource mix to historically high levels. 
The proposal voted on is available at 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq. 
Marina del Rey, California

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