Puente alternatives cheaper than gas power plant
Renewable energy alternatives are technically and economically superior to the proposed gas Puente Power Project in Oxnard.
The Ventura County Taxpayers Association’s guest commentary supporting the Puente gas plant in the Sept. 8 issue of the Business Times contained inaccurate and misleading information.
It’s true that a recent California Independent System Operator (CAISO) study concluded that alternatives to both the Puente gas plant and the nearby Ellwood gas plant would be costly, but CAISO was using 2014 prices for energy storage, which has come down more than 10 percent per year since then. By 2018, storage is expected cost less than half of what it did in 2014.
In addition, CAISO did not model a solar+storage solution, which would bring the price down even further and allow the project to benefit from the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit. CAISO overestimated costs for demand response, too.
The Clean Coalition recently released its own study and model, reflecting up-to-date costs and showing that the Puente and Ellwood gas plants could be replaced far more cost-effectively by using solar+storage.
Specifically, the Clean Coalition found that upfront costs to install a solar+storage solution would be $267 million compared to $299 million for the Puente gas plant. Solar+storage, the Clean Coalition found, could replace both Puente and Ellwood for approximately $406 million in upfront costs — less than half CAISO’s $1.1 billion figure.
Further, the costs of operations, maintenance and fuel would add over $870 million to Puente’s price tag over 30 years. For solar+storage, powered predominantly by the sun, comparable costs would be $462 million. These numbers don’t account for the human and environmental health costs of polluting gas plants like Puente.
The CAISO study did determine that a solar+storage solution can cost-effectively meet the grid reliability needs in the Moorpark sub area, in lieu of the proposed Puente gas plant. The CAISO study is deficient, however, in its cost assumptions and analyses for the clean alternative to the Puente gas plant.
Because of CAISO’s shortcomings, the Taxpayers Association’s commentary referred to significantly erroneous figures associated with renewables-driven alternatives to gas plants.