California Energy Dreamin’ Demonstrates Futility and Danger of Fractivism

delaware riverkeeper - Jim Willis reportsJim Willis
Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)


The Golden State is the breeding ground for the dangerous disease of California energy dreamin’ — a pathological obsession with energy political correctness.

Although this story concerns California, it is a preview of what’s coming to New England. Because of ongoing record-high heat in Cali, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) is telling residents to either “voluntarily” stop using electricity, or DWP is going to cut electricity to different communities on a rolling blackout basis. The cancer of anti-fossil fuel hatred has more fully metastasized in Cali than elsewhere in the country, and therefore Cali is an instructive case study.

California, if it were it’s own country (now, there’s a thought!), would be the fifth-largest economy in the world–larger than the United Kingdom, India and Brazil. Cali is the third largest consumer of gasoline and diesel on the planet, behind only China and the United States. And yet Cali persists in blocking new gas-fired electric plants, blocking pipelines, and shutting down existing oil and gas drilling.

They are, in a word, insane. And now their insanity is on display for the world to see.

California Energy Dreamin'

California Energy Dreamin’

Because of the heat wave and lack of natural gas supplies, natgas prices in Cali have zoomed to nearly $40/Mcf (thousand cubic feet). Residents now face either “voluntary” reduction in electric use–or forced blackouts. We take no pleasure (well, maybe a little pleasure) in saying Cali is reaping what it has sown.

To prevent Angelenos from suffering long and agonizing power outages in scorching weather, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power says it might have to cut their electricity.

Utility officials said Tuesday that “planned outages” that are advertised to residents beforehand will be needed to upgrade aging infrastructure.

DWP General Manager David Wright raised the idea two weeks after a blistering heat wave that left more than 100,000 customers without electricity at some point, some of whom went days without power. Wright said the practice, standard in the industry, would involve notifying residents in advance that their power would be out during specific hours on a selected day.

Dan Barnes, director of power transmission and distribution, said the utility already does some planned outages for replacing equipment, but usually keeps electricity flowing to Angelenos as it replaces old cables, by switching to another cable while work is underway. Shutting off the power would help crews get the work done more quickly, Barnes said.

Utility spokesman Joseph Ramallo said there were no immediate details about the scope of the planned outages, but that they could affect neighborhoods across the city where electrical upgrades are already planned. Wright said the department would cancel any planned outages if the weather turned out to be hot on the chosen day.

The utility also wants the city to loosen restrictions that prevent its crews from working in the street during “peak traffic hours” in the morning and afternoon. Those rules leave workers with little time to get the work done, Wright said.

“We can work between 9 and 3, but a half-hour for traffic control and a half-hour for a lunch … that’s like five hours of work,” he told the Board of Water and Power Commissioners.

During the power outages earlier this month, many residents complained the DWP had given them little information as they weighed whether to leave their homes or board their pets. City Councilmen Mitch O’Farrell and David Ryu, who represented some of the hardest hit areas, said they were deluged with complaints from frustrated residents.

Wright told board members that as crews were laboring to fix the problems, they could not give precise answers about when power would be restored.

However, the DWP chief said the utility needed to be clearer with residents about where they could find information and what work was being done. He told the board that within the next year, the utility will roll out a new system to send text messages to residents about power outages in their neighborhoods.

Wright said the utility also needed to encourage residents to prepare ahead of time for power outages, especially if they had medical needs that required electricity, by buying a small generator or a phone charger that runs on solar power. That could be crucial in an earthquake or another emergency, he said.

The price of natural gas is zooming in California:

Natural gas prices in Southern California surged to the highest in almost a decade as blistering heat kept air conditioners on full blast, stoking demand for the power-plant fuel.

Gas in the region more than tripled Monday to $39.64 per million British thermal units, a record in Bloomberg data going back to 2008. Power prices also jumped. “Dangerous heat” will descend across Southern California through July 26, with temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) in Los Angeles and approaching 110 degrees in the desert, according to the National Weather Service.

“We expected a rally, but nowhere near that big,” Rick Margolin, an analyst with Genscape Inc., said in an email Tuesday.

Low hydroelectric generation amid dry conditions has also contributed to the price spike, boosting power plants’ gas burn. Meanwhile, gas inventories remain well below normal nationwide after a frosty spring, and pipeline maintenance has kept some supply from reaching the market.

The heat is so intense that California is even pulling liquefied natural gas from the Costa Azul import terminal on Mexico’s West Coast, Margolin said. Restricted access to the Aliso Canyon storage facility after a 2015 leak is also making it difficult to meet demand, he said.

Gas exports to Mexico from the U.S. Southwest, meanwhile, slid after a pipeline compressor station was shut down for repairs. The amount of gas flowing from the region across the border sank 25 percent Tuesday after Kinder Morgan Inc.’s El Paso Natural Gas line reported a mechanical failure at a compressor station in Arizona.

To read a great article on Cali’s insane drive to dump fossil fuels, read this Energy in Depth story: Calls for California to Abandon Fossil Fuels are Counterproductive Nonsense.

Editor’s Note: My son has lived in California for almost two decades and whenever my wife and I visit, I am awed with scenery, the resources and the potential. Then, I look around and see the madness, too. I see the blatant violations, everywhere I look, of the myriad trend-setting laws copied by so many other states. I see the homelessness alongside the disgusting wealth. I see the radical influences. Finally, I see all those Priuses everywhere; expensive status symbol vehicles subsidized by the taxpayer as the perfect illustration of the politically California energy dreamin’ mindset.

Sadly, California is in the grips of this mindset, which is a subset of dead-end socialist ideology. The dead-ending toward a final Venezuelan destiny started with absurd energy policies that gave us Enron and advanced to anti-fossil fuel madness, as Jim notes. It’s emulating Germany’s failed Energiewende with the same results now appearing in the form of duplicative energy systems, skyrocketing energy prices and brownouts and blackouts.  California energy dreamin’ is expensive.

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5 thoughts on “California Energy Dreamin’ Demonstrates Futility and Danger of Fractivism

  1. The difference between California and New England is that our power problems occur in the winter because Massachusetts has shut down almost all of their Coal, Oil, and Nuclear generating sources without replacement (DUH). They thought Natural Gas would take care of the electricity problem – and it would have if more pipelines had been allowed – but they weren’t (DUH). So the idiots stopped all alternate sources of electricity except Natural Gas and someone forgot to mention that Natural Gas is also used to heat homes…DUH. It’s not even poor planning – it’s just plain STUPID.

  2. I would be interested to know how much California’s forest fires add to its annual emissions. Is anyone actually tracking these emissions and are they included in CA’s overall annual GHG?

  3. As a CA oil producer, I feel this post is only touching a small part of what has happened since the Marxist governor Moonbeam took power. Now with Newsom about to take over, and double down on the insanity, I offer the below observations:
    *Moonbeam passed a law that soon will demand residents not use more than 50 gallons of water per day or be fined $10,000 per day.
    *If you are an offshore existing producer in CA, you are witnessing PXP Pipeline now being on the Criminal Dock in Santa Barbara for the accident (corrosion) that leaked oil into the Channel. PXP had pigged the line prior to the incident and did everything by law, but now they are being prosecuted. With Newsom pledging no new offshore pipelines, no helipads, no service boat landings and other direct obstruction, ALL offshore CA operators want to get the hell out of here NOW!
    * Several groups have been successful in moving legislation to demand no producing wells within 2,500′ of anything. Their stated goal is to shut down all of the 60,000 existing wells immediately to make sure only solar panels and windmills provide most of the electricity for the people and their battery cars. There are no enviros left decrying the total destruction of the deserts and mountain passes with these intermittent energy sources, nor even the Audubon Society protesting the Cuisinart’s wiping out all of the raptors, including Condors along with hundreds of thousands of birds (flamers).
    * It now takes up to three years for a simple waste water injection permit.
    * Current Fires eliminate any advance in clearer air within one week of destruction.
    *Billions of gallons of rainfall are not claimed and allowed to simply run into the oceans when it does rain. Money allocated for reclamation projects has always been diverted to unfunded pension liability without taxpayer consent.
    *I have a “T” sticker on my bumper, along with NRA badge and my rear view mirror has been torn off three times, or whenever I park near Santa Monica or God forbid, anywhere around the Bay area. Side-note – when I lived near Santa Monica and asked about twenty kids randomly if they knew who George Patton was, if they heard of WWII, or even if they were aware of our conflict in Vietnam – ALL SAID NO! The public schools in CA simply do not teach a GD thing other than indoctrinating our children by what Sacramento, which now resembles little Tijuana, dictates.
    * The homeless camps have completely taken over river channels, government office complexes and now City streets. They are not camps anymore, but small towns full of human feces, syringes and drunks all waiting for their welfare checks.
    *The Government here allows illegal aliens to have drivers licenses so they can go into the voting booths later. If you travel anywhere now in South Central LA, there are communities (Huntington Park) where almost all store fronts are in Spanish and almost no one speaks English…and almost all are illegals. The Press reports only 4 million illegals, but the truth is there is at least 10 – 12 million illegals in CA today…and they have been illegally voting in our elections.
    *Crap, I could go on and on and on, but suffice it to say, our existing ops are about to get regulated out of existence and all we can do is go to court (good luck) and seek compensation. CA is like an alcoholic, it simply must get to the absolute bottom until it wakes up and starts to think again, but will that happen when most of the State is now mexican? I have my doubts. We are losing the war against ignorant tyranny that began 40 years ago and being promoted by our once fine institutions from times past. Please keep in mind at least 40% of the CA population do not support what is going on, but our voices are drowned out and out-voted due to illegals, so we do need Federal help to restore sanity, if it is not too late.

    • I live in California too. Unfortunately I think it is too late. I am of retirement age and all the people I know of similar age all would move out of the state if they were younger. California has been taken over by a leftist / socialist agenda. It’s nuts. The problems are far deeper than even the post above – e.g. depending how you define it, somewhere between 27% and 38% of California taxes go to pay for Medi-Cal – the state’s Medicaid program: 33% of the state’s population, approximately 12 million people, are enrolled. A percentage of that group are illegal aliens with fake identification.

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