Sacramento, California - State and local energy agencies released a plan to help preserve reliability of natural gas and electrical service this winter for Southern California in light of the current operational limitations at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. Aliso Canyon is prohibited from injecting and storing more natural gas until a comprehensive safety review is completed and the facility’s wells are deemed safe or removed from service.
The action plan found that while risks to energy infrastructure still exist due to the uncertainty of weather and system conditions without Aliso Canyon, conservation and other mitigation measures will help to meet the energy needs of Southern California this winter.
The California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, California Independent System Operator, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power authored the plan. The four agencies developed a plan that calls for implementing 10 new measures to reduce the possibility of natural gas and electrical interruptions this winter.
The authors of the action plan commend Southern Californians for their response so far to calls for energy conservation and urge them to continue their efforts this summer and into the winter.
The Aliso Canyon facility, which is the largest in California and ranks fifth nationwide, has operated for decades to provide gas to local customers and electric power plants, and has never before been constrained at current levels. A CPUC order preserved 15 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas in the Aliso Canyon facility for use during periods of peak demand to avoid energy interruptions.
The challenges of serving normal winter average demand without using Aliso Canyon can be resolved by increasing withdrawals from other natural gas fields. For the coldest days, while risk exists, demand can be met by withdrawals from other fields and replacement of lost generation from other resources, according to the plan.
The winter measures are in addition to the ones implemented for the summer. The new measures include encouraging natural gas conservation during cold weather, strengthening the demand response program, extending noncore balancing rules, adding balancing rules for core customers, establishing a maximum consumption level for electric generators, requiring reports on restoring pipeline service, identifying additional natural gas supplies, preparing to buy liquefied natural gas, updating the Aliso Canyon withdrawal protocol and monitoring natural gas use at refineries.