Steve Berberich, CEO of the California Independent System Operator, assessed for GTM his views on the reasons for the rolling blackouts in the face of a record setting heat wave. He overlooked a key reason for the delay on capacity procurement (called “resource adequacy” or RA) and he demonstrated a lack of understanding of how renewables and batteries will integrate to provide peak capacity.
Berberich is unwilling to acknowledge that at least part of the RA procurement problem was created by CAISO’s unwillingness to step in as a residual buyer in the RA market, which then created resistance by the CCAs to putting the IOUs in that role. RA procurement was delayed at least a year due to CAISO’s reluctance. CAISO appears to be politically tone-deaf to the issues being raised by CCAs on system procurement.
He says that solar will have to be overbuilt to supply energy to batteries for peak load. But that is already the case with the NQC ELCC just a fraction of the installed solar and wind capacity. Renewable capacity above the ELCC is available to charge the batteries for later use. The only question then is how much energy is required from the batteries to support the peak load and is that coming from existing renewables fleet. The resource adequacy paradigm has changed (more akin to the old PNW hydro system) in which energy, not built capacity is becoming the constraint.
An LA Times interview with Berberich by Sammy Roth: https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2020-09-08/why-does-californias-power-grid-keep-flirting-with-disaster-here-are-some-answers
The joys of PSPS’s!
The 50 corridor through the foothills was de-energized last night. This is our 6th PSPS over the last 3 years. PG&E is getting much better at letting folks know that they are on their own electrical power wise. It sound like we will be without grid power till sometime after mid day on the 9th.
I am happy to report that our Air Washer is operating when our generator is operating- about 2 hours for every 6 to 8 hours that the grid is down- cleaning the smoke and pollen out of our interior spaces. It is acting a bit like a swamp cooler too.
Air Washer ref- https://pgtruspace.wordpress.com/2020/09/01/the-new-old-new-project-continues/
The CAISO had not reached its prescribed levels to declare the Stage Alerts on August 14 and 15, so the rolling blackouts may not have been appropriate. See https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/16/business/california-blackouts.html