(Reuters) – California’s electric grid operator has forecast power supplies will be tight this summer due to below average hydropower production and reduced generation, according to an assessment released on Wednesday.
The California Independent System Operator (ISO), the grid operator, said the system’s capacity to serve consumers will be tight in high-load periods in the summer months, especially during the evenings of hot days when solar power dissipates.
But it forecast only “an extremely low probability it will be forced to initiate rotating power outages” this summer.
The ISO, which forecast peak demand during the summer would be about the same as last year, said hydropower production is expected to be down 1,300 megawatts (MW) by late summer compared with 2017’s above-normal hydropower output.
One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes.
In addition, the ISO said natural gas-powered generation will see a drop of about 800 MW due to plant retirements.
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Electricity demand will likely break records in Texas this summer, so experts are already warning about the pocketbook impact on consumers.
After all, it’s a pretty safe bet that Texas summers, sizzle. So the Barbero family in Dallas decided to stop gambling on how high the bills would go, and turned to solar power instead.
“In the summer, you can have a $400, $500 bill,” says Pebble Barbero. “We’re locked into our monthly rate for buying the panels and in the summer months we are generating more than enough electricity to cover all of our a/c costs and appliances and everything.” Barbero says the opportunity to use “green” energy also factored into the family’s decision.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, ERCOT, says the state has enough generating capacity to meet demand, yet the agency is already warning that “record-breaking peak usage” is expected this summer.
So whether it’s solar panels or simply turning up the thermostat, experts say conservation will be critical as we head into the warmer months. There’s already concern about the difference between the state’s power generating capacity and rising consumption: it’s called the “margin.”