California authorities adopt plan for Aliso Canyon impact mitigation this winter

The California Independent System Operator‘s Board of Governors on Oct. 3 agreed to extend a plan to mitigate possible power interruptions this winter due to capacity restrictions on the Aliso Canyon gas storage fields serving the Los Angeles basin.

The provisions support an action plan crafted by the California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the California ISO in advance of the winter months and anticipated high demand for energy for heating Southern California homes and businesses.

“The energy agencies and ISO staffs worked collaboratively to effectively manage summer demand on the electric grid following limitations on a major California gas storage facility that serves the Los Angeles Basin,” said Steve Berberich, ISO President and CEO, in an Oct. 4 statement. “We are now building on that experience to ensure we have the best practices in place to meet winter heating demand and still have the gas needed to run the region’s power plants.”

Aliso Canyon, the largest gas storage complex in California, has operated for decades to supply gas to local customers and electric power plants. It is currently prohibited from increasing natural gas storage levels until safety reviews are completed on its wells.

The Aliso Canyon Gas and Electric Reliability Winter Action Plan outlined 10 new measures for winter reliability risk mitigation, including urging natural gas conservation during cold weather, gas withdrawals from other fields and replacing lost generation from other sources. The measures are in addition to those from a summer action plan drawn up by the four agencies to mitigate risk of natural gas and electric service interruptions in the Los Angeles region during the summer months when gas power plants generate much of the energy used for air conditioning.

Aliso Canyon experienced a large natural gas leak significantly affecting many of the people that live and work in the area as well as the gas balancing tools available to gas users. The storage facility is a significant part of the gas system serving customers in the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego, including gas-fired electric generation. The leak has resulted in a dramatic reduction in the use of the storage facility, greatly limiting the flexibility of the Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) systems to serve gas-fired electrical generators in the area.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.