California regulators propose replacing PG&E natural gas plants with energy storage

“Houston-based Calpine, which owns the plants, and the California Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s electric grid, argue that the gas-fueled plants are needed to ensure reliability in the local areas they serve.

The three Northern California plants — in Feather River, Yuba and Metcalf — don’t have long-term contracts with utilities, but have been identified by Cal-ISO as facilities that should remain in operation to support the electric grid when needed.

The push to replace the PG&E power plants with storage follows investigations by the Los Angeles Times earlier this year that showed the state approved numerous power plants and overbuilt the the electricity system, primarily with natural gas facilities.

And California has so much clean energy that it has to shut down some plants while paying other states to take the power California can’t use.

The overbuilding and related costs have added $6.8 billion more to utility customers’ bills than they paid in 2008, even though consumers are using less electricity than they were nine years ago.

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