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Tue Jan 31, 2012, 05:01 PM

Calif. seeks flexible power rules as wind expands

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/30/us-utilities-california-idUSTRE80T20T20120130

The California power grid wants to make sure it can keep electricity flowing as residents rely on a greater amount of wind and solar power and strict water rules force the shutdown of power plants along the coast in the next few years, the agency said.

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Among the challenges of integrating a 33 percent renewable mandate "is ensuring that the ISO has sufficient flexible capacity to address the added variability and unpredictability created by intermittent resources," the agency said.

"This challenge is magnified even further with the prospect of losing over 12,000 megawatts of flexible capacity resources to once-through-cooling mandates established by the State Water Resources Control Board," the report added.

The ISO requested a waiver last week at the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to be able to compensate Calpine Corp to keep a 500-megawatt natural gas-fired plant operating even as weak power prices have made the 10-year old plant uneconomical, according to its owner.

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