Report: California customers may face 14 days of blackouts from low gas supplies
California may have permanently sealed the Aliso Canyon methane leak, but fallout from the “catastrophic failure” continues, say environmental advocates.
“Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon storage facility is exposing a critical weakness in the state’s energy system,” EDF said in a blog post this week. “Overdependence on natural gas – and on one provider of that gas – means we don’t have the flexibility we need to cope if things go wrong. And now that they have gone wrong.”
Southern California Gas Company’s Aliso Canyon facility began leaking methane in October, and was finally sealed in February. Earlier this year, the California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Independent System Operator expressed concern about the reliability of electric and gas service during the summer months if withdrawals cannot resume from gas stored at the facility.
That led Southern California Gas and San Diego Gas & Electric to propose penalties should gas burn deviate more than 5%, which has in turn led the California grid operator to launch an expedited process to deal with the move.
“Depending on the scope of curtailment, the ISO’s ability to redispatch might be hindered,” Mark Rothleder, CAISO vice president of market quality and renewable integration, told RTO Insider.
California’s energy agencies have issued a report examining how to maintain reliability this summer, “including the use of 15 billion cubic feet of natural gas that was preserved in the Aliso Canyon facility.”
Concerns that electrical customers might face 14 days of blackouts have officials calling for customers to reduce demand. The blackouts will not be rolling blackouts, California Energy Commission’s Weisenmiller said, but more planned, rotating power reductions, SNL Energy reports.