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A letter in response to Rob Davis’ article “SDG&E’s Big Solar Failure.”
Rob, excellent story. You may be considering a story that explains that the real golden geese for SDG&E are, one, the $1.5 billion in profits for simply building the Sunrise Powerlink, whether it is needed or used, and, two, building combustion turbines and other forms of natural gas-fired power plants, or contracting for them and then buying them from the contractors at a later date, based largely on the fiction that wind and solar output is entirely unpredictable and therefore SDG&E needs a brand new fleet of quick start turbines to react in an instant to all this unpredictability.
This time, Baja California wind power is being used as the SDG&E justification for half a billion dollars in combustion turbine expenses, even though there is no US investment tax credit for wind in Mexico (and it is the tax credit that makes the wind projects economically feasible in the US) and the wind across the border is slightly less potent than on the US side. It does not matter if a single wind turbine is ever built in Baja California — all that matters is that the California Public Utilities Commission and state government are sufficiently bamboozled to perceive that without the fast start turbines SDG&E could somehow be constrained in meeting renewable energy targets.
SDG&E continues to ignore Jerry Brown’s target of 12,000 Megawatts of new local renewable energy and the initial allocation of 2,000 Megawatts of this capacity to San Diego under Brown’s Clean Energy Jobs Plan.
Bill Powers is Principal of Powers Engineering in University Heights.