Thursday, August 31, 2006

AES Building New Power Plant in the Inland Empire.

AES has filed an application with the California Energy Commission to build a 300 megawatt power plant in San Bernardino County. If approved, the plant would provide power to an estimated 300,000 homes.

The plant is at least three years away from coming on line, however. The approval process could take up to a year, followed by two years of construction.

AES is downplaying potential environmental concerns:

Julie Way, AES project director, said the plant must comply with stringent environmental standards.

"Even when operating on a `worst-case' 15-hour day, (the new facility) will produce significantly less emissions than will 15,000 automobiles driving 60 miles on the freeway," Way said.

The noise produced by the plant "will be much quieter than the train horns that are sounded when nearing an intersection," Way said

A public hearing has been scheduled for on September 19.

Plant Could Give Area Boost In Power, If Approved [San Bernardino Sun]

Out of Gas?

In a published letter in the Ventura Star this week, SoCal Gas Vice President Rick Morrow sounded the alarm about declining natural gas supplies. He stated:

However, because gas supplies from traditional supply basins are forecast to decline, it is essential that our customers have access to new sources of supply.

Morrow offered an enthusiastic defense of importing LNG to California, arguing that LNG will increase competition and reduce price volatility.

He stopped short of endorsing any of the LNG project proposals currently under consideration in California, but if the Gas Company has its way, LNG apparently will be a big part of the Southern California's energy future.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

California Energy Commission: State Dodged a Bullet.

In a public hearing yesterday, the California Energy Commission acknowledged that the state's electricity system performed surprisingly well during the recent heat wave, for the most part holding up in the face of record demand. The CEC noted however, that major system-wide improvements are still required.

In July, demand for electricity soared to a record 50,270 megawatts, exceeding the projected peak demand of 47,000 megawatts. 138 deaths were blamed on the heatwave.

Energy System Worries Officials [Contra Costa Times]

Monday, August 28, 2006

San Francisco Chronicle Urges Passage of SB 426

The San Francisco Chronicle has come out strong in favor of SB 426, Sen. Joe Simitian's bill to require the California Energy Commission to evaluate and rank LNG proposals on the basis of health, safety, economic potential, environment and national security.

The Chronicle notes that with such a wide range of projects that includes everything from floating terminals far out at sea to projects in high density urban areas, the bill will allow for a thorough, realistic evaluation of which projects pose the least threat to California.

LNG Safeguards [San Francisco Chronicle]

Sierra Club Prefers Coal to LNG.

Inside CalEPA is reporting that the Sierra Club is holding firm to its opposition to LNG, citing increased dependence on foreign energy, potential safety issues, and contributions to global warming as reasons to steer clear of LNG.

The Sierra Club is set to approve a sweeping new energy policy that promotes alternatives like wind energy and, that makes concessions for more environmentally un-friendly technologies such as coal. The group cites its concessions to coal energy as part of a "harm reduction strategy" rather than an endorsement.

Sierra Club Support For Energy Projects Underpins Major New Policy [Inside CalEPA, August 25, 2006] [By Subscription Only]

LNG Industry Speaks Out Against SB 426

LNG proponents fired back against SB 426 (which would rank proposed LNG projects using several factors including risk to public safety) in a published letter to the editor in the Los Angeles Times yesterday:

August 27, 2006

Re "The LNG scramble," editorial, Aug. 22

In more than 33,000 liquefied natural gas carrier voyages spanning more than four decades, there has not been a serious accident. No explosions or fatalities from an LNG cargo spill have ever occurred aboard an LNG carrier.

Each proposed LNG terminal is undergoing extensive review by every level of government from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Coast Guard to local fire departments and harbor police. To pass this review, LNG terminals and their tankers must comply with stringent clean air rules and regulations to ensure that such emissions have minimal impact.

Far from a "blind decision," an LNG terminal could not be more carefully and thoroughly studied. SB 426 would only result in senseless delays that could lead to even higher gas and electricity rates for California consumers.


Executive Director

Center for Liquefied Natural Gas


Approving LNG is not a 'Blind Decision' [Los Angeles Times]

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Woodside LNG Project Moving Ahead.

Australian LNG player Woodside officially submitted permit applications this week in Los Angeles for its Ocean Way LNG project.

According to published reports:

OceanWay involves two delivery buoys more than 32km offshore from Los Angeles International Airport, with twin underwater pipelines to deliver gas to shore.

LNG will be turned back into gaseous form on a specially equipped ship before being piped directly to shore, avoiding the need to construct a permanent plant. When not required for ship unloading, the buoys will rest on the sea floor. The initial plant would be designed to process 400,000 cubic feet of gas a day but OceanWay could be expanded to 1.2 billion c/f a day if required.

Woodside in LNG Pitch to California [The Australian]

A Million Solar Roofs.

Earlier this week, Gov. Schawarzenegger signed a bill that moves forward his controversial "Million Solar Roofs" plan. The program is designed to create 3,000 megawatts of solar energy per year-- 5% of California's current consumption.

Consumer advocates are skeptical because the plan, which offers rebates for the installation of solar panels, is funded by a $15 rate increase on residential customers. With the rebates, Schwarzenegger projects that the tab for installing solar energy panels could be reduced from $15,000 to $2,000.

More Panels, Cleaner Power Goal of Project [San Diego Union Tribune]

Thursday, August 17, 2006

No LNG, Higher rates for L.A.

As supplies struggle to meet demand in California's natural gas markets, the City of Los Angeles has decided to pass the costs on to consumers.

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved electric rate increases Wednesday to help the Department of Water and Power cover the rising cost of natural gas.

The rate hikes are set to begin in October. The average DWP residential customer whose electric bill is now $606 annually could potentially see that rise incrementally to $680 by 2010.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Port Blast would devistate L.A., Nation

RAND has just conducted a study on the effects of a major explosion in the Port of Long Beach.

A nuclear explosion at the Port of Long Beach could kill 60,000 people immediately, expose 150,000 more to hazardous radiation and cause 10 times the economic loss of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, according to a new Rand Corp. study.

The study released Tuesday by the Santa Monica-based think tank was the latest to address concerns about the possible vulnerability of the nation's ports.

It analyzed the possible effects of terrorists detonating a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb in a shipping container unloaded onto a Long Beach pier.

In addition to the human casualties, such a blast might destroy the infrastructure and every ship at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which together handle about one-third of the nation's imports, the study said. Damage at port-area refineries could create critical shortages.

I'd imagine the same could happen were an LNG terminal to go "boom" in the same place, eh?