So, how do you take 2,246 MW of capacity and 1,100 MW of VARS support off line in Southern California and keeps the lights on?

Yes, there are major challenges in Southern California, particularly the greater Los Angeles area. In addition to the loss of San Onofre (SONGS), many coastal plants that use Once-Through Cooling will be retired: Long Beach, El Segundo, Huntington Beach, Redondo Beach, Oxnard, and Carlsbad.

Speakers put the 100-year old industry in perspective: The grid is “a most complex machine that’s connected from Canada to Baja, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, and it needs to be balanced every second…. We work within an iron triangle of cost, reliability, and environment. These are the three pillars of our industry, none can be sacrificed.”

There was much discussion of managing the “duck curve,” the daily load profile of the state.  Independent System Operator Governor Angelina Galiteva provided a useful overview: The ISO controls 58 GW of capacity; its record peak was 50 GW in 2006. It manages 26,500 market transactions per day on its 25,000 circuit miles, so far, quite effectively.

President of David Nahai Consulting, and former General Manager of LADWP, was clear. There is so much progress… close collaborations between the CPUC, CEC, and the ISO. He stressed the need to give clarity to investors and utilities alike. Will there be a 50% RPS? The sooner the policy is clarified, the sooner the market can and will respond.

As renewables take center stage, new opportunities exist. There was discussion of smart inverters that are more tolerant to outages, with some “ride-through” and the capability “to inject VARS upon demand.” Southern California Edison’s Mark Wallenrod spoke to “intelligent delivery,” “integrated energy management solutions,” “common platforms,” and “remote analytics” driving down the cost of useful auditing.

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