California surrenders to "fossil fuels"


Natural gas is a hydrocarbon, a "fossil fuel"

Richard Lindzen writes:

I think that most of these people realize that there is nothing that the US and Europe can do that will have a discernible impact on climate regardless of what one believes about climate.  Under the circumstances, the rational policy would be to do everything possible to increase the wealth of their societies in order to maximize resilience to whatever nature might do for whatever reason.  There must be some reason why societies are choosing to do the opposite.  Perhaps Fresno thinks that rationality might be preferable – at least in the short run.  Maybe they feel that Covid has burdened people about as much as they can tolerate.

California plans to build five temporary natural gas plants to prevent blackouts and one of those plants will be in Fresno County, according to a local lawmaker.

The Department of Water Resources will install five natural gas plant generators at three powerplants in the state, according to the office of Jim Patterson, R-Fresno.

A total of $171.5 million has already been allocated for the implementation, according to the California Department of Finance.

Patterson confirmed news of the plants during a press conference Friday. His office later told The Bee that one of the generators will be installed at Midway Peaking Plant near Mendota in Fresno County.

His office confirmed plants would also be sited in Yuba City in Sutter County and Roseville in Placer County. Two generators will be at Calpine Greenleaf 1 located near Yuba City, Patterson’s office told The Bee late Friday. Two more will be installed at the Roseville Energy Park located near Roseville.

He said the gas-fueled generating plants will consist of a total capacity of 150 megawatts, with 30 megawatts for each unit.

Patterson said his “hunch” is that the state’s use of the plants won’t be temporary, noting that they will be licensed for five years.

The decision to install the five plants has been a result of flawed policies by decision-makers, he said.

“California has been forced to do this because we now have growing demand on a grid that has flattening supplies and that has caused these Flex Alerts,” he said. “Our grid is destabilized because of political decisions.”

From 2009 to 2019, there were two Flex Alerts per year, he said. So far this year alone, he said, the state has had about six Flex Alerts. With high temperatures this year, Californians have been urged to conserve electricity during certain hours.

“Now, as a result of the policies that are coming out of the state Capitol, we are increasingly seeing a grid that is close to being unbalanced,” he said.

Alisha Gallon, a spokeswoman for Patterson’s office, said the office only became aware of the plans through a reporter.

“There have been no official announcements to my knowledge,” she told The Bee. “We have no statement from the Governor or DWR (Department of Water Resources).”

The Department of Water Resources was in the process of procuring, installing and operating the five 30-megawatt generators at the three powerplants, according to an Aug. 10 letter from the California Department of Finance.

“Based on preliminary reporting, Finance has determined that funding for these critical activities must be secured immediately to allow the Department to secure these additional resources for expedited deployment,” the letter reads. “Accordingly, the Director of Finance is allocating $171.5 million from the Disaster Response-Emergency Operations Account.”

The Department of Finance, in the letter, says it has reviewed the information and agrees with the “estimates and need to make an initial allocation to address these immediate needs.”

It’s unclear whether the $171.5 million is just for the initial allocation or the total amount needed.

The Department of Water Resources will began its work related to the generators within 120 days from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s July 30 “state of emergency to safeguard the state’s energy system this summer,” according to the letter.

“Now we see the order that these natural gas plants are going to pop up — and one of them in my area here in the Fresno area,” Patterson told reporters.

He said California has been gambling that it can supply the fifth-largest economy in the world with electricity, primarily from wind and solar energy, which are not available at all times.

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