On January 15, 2014, the California Energy Commission (CEC) adopted a report that concluded hydropower from British Columbia (BC) is not eligible as renewable in California (CA) and recommended not revising (i.e. weakening) the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) hydropower regulations to allow eligibility. This effectively closes the door on a terrible idea and long process that began in 2008 for California Hydropower Reform Coalition members and BC river advocates.
While only about 30 percent of California’s usable water storage capacity lies at higher elevations, high‐elevation hydropower units generate, on average, 74 percent of California’s instate hydroelectricity. In general, high‐elevation plants have small man‐made reservoirs and rely mainly on snowpack. Their low built‐in storage capacity is a concern with regard to climate warming. Snowmelt is expected to shift to earlier in the year, and the system may not be able to store sufficient water for release in high‐demand periods. Previous studies have explored the climate warming effects on California’s high‐elevation hydropower system by focusing on the supply side (exploring the effects of hydrological changes on generation and revenues) but they have ignored the warming effects on hydropower demand and pricing. This study extends the previous work by simultaneous consideration of climate change effects on high‐elevation hydropower supply and demand in California. Artificial Neural Network models were developed as long‐term price estimation tools, to investigate the impact of climate warming on energy prices. California’s Energy‐Based Hydropower Optimization Model (EBHOM) was then applied, to estimate the adaptability of California’s high‐elevation hydropower system to climate warming, considering the warming effects on hydropower supply and demand. The model was run for dry and wet warming scenarios, representing a range of hydrological changes under climate change. The model’s results relative to energy generation, energy spills, reservoir energy storage, and average shadow prices of energy generation and storage capacity expansion are examined and discussed. The modeling results are compared with previous studies to emphasize the need to consider climate change effects on hydroelectricity demand and pricing when exploring the effects of climate change on California’s hydropower system.
Available Online at https://www.energy.ca.gov/2012publications/CEC-500-2012-020/CEC-500-2012-020.pdf
Citing differences between the co-applicants of the Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage (LEAPS) Project, which would be located on Lake Elsinore and San Juan Creek in Riverside County, CA, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has dismissed the application for the project submitted in 2004.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and California have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to coordinate procedures and schedules at the federal and state levels for development of hydrokinetic energy projects off the California coast.
According to a FERC news release, FERC and California have agreed to the following: