In the Dark

Los Angeles declared a power emergency last month when temperatures in the area averaged 90 degrees, six degrees higher than the historic average for the area. Repeating for emphasis, a six degree difference in temperature caused a power crisis. That sort of thing is not supposed to happen in a region where 15% power reserve margins are the regulatory goal. While power seems unusually short in southern California, power plants are being closed and new projects abandoned elsewhere. The Oyster Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey will shutter next month prior to the end of its useful life, and it was announced that the Duane Arnold nuclear plant in Iowa will be retired early in 2020. Last week, AEP abandoned the large, new “Wind Catcher” transmission project in Oklahoma. Reports suggest that regions may be electrical power short, yet utilities are cutting generation and transmission capacity.

  • Reserve margins are low in several regions.
  • Electricity demand is trending down.
  • New generation sources are making reserve margins less reliable.
  • Electric vehicles (EV) could change everything.

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