Even as California has scaled back education, law enforcement and assistance to the disabled in this era of financial stress, the energy program has continued unrestrained and is expected to grow significantly in coming years.
“State agencies have invested in milk trucks that run on cow manure, power plants fueled by ocean tides and artificial photosynthesis for powering vehicles and buildings.
“A U.S.-Canada treaty that governs operations of the fourth-largest river in North America — affecting everything from power prices and water supplies to grain shipments and recreation in the Pacific Northwest — should be renegotiated to make the system more flexible amid climate change and to aid threatened and endangered species that weren’t considered when the treaty was created decades ago, federal regulators recommended in a draft document released to The Associated Press.”
“This month, California energy regulators proposed requiring the state’s utility companies to buy more than 1.3 gigawatts of electricity storage by 2020 – enough electricity to supply 993,750 typical homes at any given instant.
“The storage would help ensure that the lights stay on as California adds large amounts of solar and wind power – both highly variable – to its grid. Big energy storage projects would also cut the number of new fossil-fuel power plants built in the state.
The Orange County Water District’s board on Thursday will consider whether to launch negotiations with a company that wants to build a power plant capable of generating up to 300 megawatts of energy on the same plot of land where Anaheim city officials want to open a park that would serve community sports leagues.”
“Because water utilities are dependent on the sale of water to recoup costs, reduced sales can result in deficits – and per capita water demand in California has been stagnant or decreasing for the past several decades. Over the coming years, California municipal water utilities are required to reduce water use by 20%. Thus, the ‘new normal’ or an era of declining demand and rising costs is a trend that is likely to continue.
“Water and wastewater managers are missing substantial opportunities to save energy and money, according to a report published Wednesday (Sept. 4) by Water in the West, a research center at Stanford University.
“The report, ‘Water and Energy Nexus: A Literature Review,’ also identifies the amount of water used to extract resources such as natural gas, oil and coal, and to generate electricity.
“Savvy Californians know that cutting down the amount of water we use saves lots of energy. It takes a huge amount of electrical power to pump water to our thirsty cities, and when it gets there we burn natural gas to heat it. But did you know that saving energy also saves water?”
“All forms of energy – from hydropower to solar panels – use water to extract and process the fuels, construct the processing facilities, or generate the electricity. Likewise, water supply, treatment, use, and disposal use considerable amounts of energy.
“One of two San Francisco-owned hydroelectric power plants damaged in a huge wildfire that continues to scorch Sierra timberland was back on line Tuesday, with the other plant expected to be running in a few weeks. …
“The fire burned to the shoreline of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the source of drinking water for 2.6 million people in the Bay Area.”
“It was called ‘megawatt laundering,’ a scheme invented by Enron to maximize profits during the California energy crisis. On Friday, one of its most aggressive practitioners agreed to give the state a $750 million refund.
“Powerex, a government-owned hydroelectricity supplier from British Columbia, cut a deal with California officials to settle years of litigation over alleged market manipulation.
“A decade after a vast power outage shut down the Northeast, the electricity grid remains ‘highly vulnerable’ to blackouts because of extreme weather fueled by climate change, a report by the White House and the Energy Department concludes.”
From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Voices on Water blog:
“A statewide education and outreach campaign urging Californians to save water and energy this summer has launched through a partnership among ACWA, representatives of the Governor’s Office, the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) and electric utilities, ACWA Deputy Executive Director for External Affairs and Operations Jennifer Persike writes in the latest entry in the Voices on Water blog.”
From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA):
“A statewide outreach campaign that launched earlier this month to remind consumers to use water and energy wisely this summer now has public education tools available in both Spanish and English.
“The ‘Save Water & Save Energy This Summer’ outreach campaign has developed numerous communications tools for water agencies and utilities to use to educate their customers about the importance of conserving both water and energy.”
“The first U.S. offshore wind turbine hooked into the U.S. power grid in June, but not in the ‘green’ state of California. …
“California is the state most associated with alternative energy development, yet the state’s greatest potential source of clean power (and its main geographic feature), the Pacific Ocean, is largely ignored.”