Skip to comments.Current drought reduces hydro generation forecast for California
Posted on 02/07/2014 4:46:50 AM PST by thackney
Forecasts for the water supply at nearly every major water gauge in the states of California and Nevada were less than half of average seasonal norms as of February 5. The water supply situation has not materially improved since the governor of California declared a state of emergency on January 17. Several dry years have left California dealing with low water supply. The driest December on record has resulted in nearly 60% of the state now classified as being in a condition of extreme drought, the second-worst category in the U.S. drought monitor index.
According to the California Department of Water Resources, snowpack (an indication of how much water will be available to fill reservoirs and power hydroelectric generators throughout the year) in the northern Sierra Nevada range is about one-fifth of normal for the hydrological year that runs from October 2013 through September 2014.
Almost 14% of the nation's hydroelectric generating capacity is concentrated in California. Since 1989, hydroelectric dams have accounted for varying portions of electricity generated within California, from 11% in 1992 (reflecting a low water year) to a high of 28% in 1995 (a high water year). The chart below also shows the level of California hydro output in the service territory of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the electric grid operator for most of the state since 2010. As shown, hydro generation during the past two summers was well below levels attained in the summers of 2010 and 2011. Hydro output peaks in the spring and early summer as melted snow flows through the river basins. Overall demand for electricity, however, peaks slightly later, at the height of summer, when air conditioners are running most often.
Absent output from in-state hydroelectric resources, CAISO has tended to import more power from neighboring regions as well as increase output from thermal sources of generation. Much of the imported power comes from hydroelectric dams located in the Pacific Northwest, which is also experiencing low water supply. Tomorrow's Today in Energy article will provide details of the latest Pacific Northwest water supply forecast.
No sooner had the media discovered the drought in CA than the rains have come, with several more rain systems on the way. Next, they’ll be hyperventilating about flooding, all tied to climate change, of course.
Who knew that the Mexicans would bring their climate with them.
Sorry California, but after all of the Leftist preaching concerning your morally superior state planning on issues from economics to gun bans, I just don’t care. I just hope that when California becomes totally inhospitable that its residence either stay put or move back to Mexico. We don’t need you coming east.
Ok, they can use wind and solar. That area is the home of this nonsense. I’m waiting to hear they are restricting fossil so it won’t be increased during this hydro crisis...to save the planet.
“... increase output from thermal sources of generation...”
Steam turbine generated electricity powered by “evil” coal and petroleum fuels will save their asses for now.
The area will one day return to the natural desert that it was before.
How do you when a drought is over? When you see a governor make a dire speech about the drought. :)
No, California is firmly controlled by the Environmental idiots that will not approve of such common sense solutions. Instead, these morons are destroying private property and California's agriculture in the name of saving endangered species and the planet. These people running the state are insane. Surrounding states should not enable California's insanity; they should boost the price of the water they sell by a minimum of 500% or curtain water sales entirely. Then watch the Californians squeal like stuck pigs.
Spot on post!
Let them know Saudi Arabia has built desalination plants as well. They may be more inclined to emulate them.
Unfortunately, those “thermal sources” are located in Utah, Arizona and Nevada.
Boy, this oughta bring out the: eff California, screw California, California deserves this, California needs to drop into the Pacific, California is so stupid, California is scum, California fruits and nuts, California sucks, California_____________, crowd....
Oh, wait, I see some are already here...
It’s rather curious seeing the outright sadistic pleasure some so called FReepers enjoy when nature deals a crappy hand to others...I’ll remind myself to not exhibit any concern to any other states going through a rough patch, regardless of their politics...karma’s a bitch.