Monday, June 13, 2005

SoCal has opportunities to head of energy calamities

As with the 2000 Energy Crisis, there are warning signs that supplies will be tight in Southern California as demand grows. But we might be able to learn from our experience:

Indeed, Southern California has a golden opportunity to head off future calamities.

But we'd better not blow it.

Now is the time for expansion of capacity — and vision.

New power plants must be built and old ones renewed. Transmission lines must be built to bring power into the state from surpluses at the Arizona and Mexican borders and other states. New forms of power generation — solar and wind and geothermal — are becoming possible.

This region needs more electricity because its economy is growing, and so is its use of electric power — extraordinarily so.

In Southern California Edison's territory — Los Angeles and Orange counties plus San Bernardino and Riverside counties — electricity usage grew 4.5% last year and as much as 6% in the hotter inland areas. In San Diego Gas & Electric's territory, especially in the desert regions east of the port city, growth is 4% to 5% per year. These growth rates are expected to continue.

And don't forget the necessary infrastructure to import the fuel by which that electricity gets generated!