Is a California solar+storage boom about to happen?
CAISO has warned state regulators that there could be a 4.7 GW capacity shortfall in 2022, in the early evening hours of the annual peak demand events of September. The grid operator has suggested alteration of water cooling laws, as well as increased procurement of resources.
The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has suggested, in a response filed (pdf) with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), that “refinements [to an earlier analysis] indicate a greater operational deficiency reaching maximums of 2,300 MW, 4,400 MW, and 4,700 MW in 2020, 2021, and 2022, respectively.”
The grid manager of 90% of California’s electricity demand made two broad recommendations:
1 Move forward with efforts to extend the once-through-cooling regulation
compliance dates for existing generation resources.
2 Develop a procurement plan for 2020-2022 to meet reliability needs and facilitate the retirement of any generating unit that receives an OTC compliance date extension: Direct resource adequacy procurement for uncontracted resources that are operational or mothballed; Direct increased resource adequacy procurement for uncontracted import resources;
3 Ensure resources under construction are on-track for their online dates so that they do not exacerbate reliability concerns; and
4 Direct procurement for new resources.
The report noted a prior analysis done by utility Southern California Edison (SCE), which found that generally:
The peak hour of the year occurs consistently in September. In 2020 and 2021, the projected peak falls within hour ending 17 (based on P.S.T. or 6:00 p.m. P.D.T.). By 2022, the peak shifts to hour ending 18 (based on P.S.T. or 7:00 p.m. P.D.T.).
As such, the analysis looks at various hours within that period when determining what the shortfall could be. From the report (below image), various electricity sources are shown, with solar power dropping (in yellow) from the left to the right as the evening progresses leading to the shortfall. Page 20 of the documents breaks out the capacity by source with number values, pages 26-28 break the same hourly data below into numbers as well.