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Tag Archives | California

25% of Californians support counties wanting to secede

Credit: sfgate.com

Credit: sfgate.com

The mockers may wish to stop ignoring the growing secession movement in California. It’s got legs. Two northern California counties have already voted in favor of secession and several others are considering it. They want to form a new state called Jefferson. A surprising 25% of Californians support them, according to the respected Field Poll. This is no longer a fringe movement.

The counties say the state legislature and state agencies mostly ignore them. They are quite correct. They are ignored.

“This shows that there are people who agree with us,” said Liz Bowen, who lives in Callahan (Siskiyou County) and is a spokeswoman for the movement. “Forming the state of Jefferson is not necessarily liberal versus conservative. It’s just that the people in rural areas feel like they don’t have a voice.

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Calif. renewable energy production only 14% of total, and variable

clustered-percentages-of-demand

Wind is by far the biggest producer of renewable energy in California. Sort of. Big hydropower is bigger but Califonia doesn’t count it as renewable, for reasons that are probably more political than related to energy. Also, look at the variability in wind power during the year. Such fluctuations make balancing the grid increasingly difficult. All forms of renewables in California are still just 14% of total energy produced.

Geothermal is the second biggest renewable energy source in California. This generally surprises people. Solar, both PV and thermal, trail geothermal.

California has mandated 33% renewables produced in-state by 2020 and has a long way to go to meet that goal.

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State of California has a serious water worker shortage

The problem is California state pay for water workers is so much lower than industry standards that state employees with experience immediately get hired for substantially more pay at private utilities. The result is a growing California water worker shortage

This costs the California tens of millions, not just in lost training money, but also because less experienced people get put in charge and not surprisingly, make mistakes.

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California Central Valley water cuts will lead to food lines

California Aqueduct

California Aqueduct

When there’s not enough water to supply everyone, water cutbacks to farms mean unemployment in agricultural areas of California. Central Valley allotments from the Sacramento Delta to the Central Valley were cut to 20%. This does not meant a 20% cut to 80% of allotment. They are receiving 20% of their total allotment, an 80% cut, this for one of the most productive agricultural areas in the country. These Central Valley water cuts will devastate already wobbly local economies.

With severe irrigation water cutbacks this year, food lines again will form with unemployed workers and their families on the San Joaquin Valley’s west side, local leaders said Monday.

Part of the problem is the snow pack is about half what it should be, made worse for Central Valley farmers by federal regulations mandating water be used to protect fish in the Delta, particularly salmon.

There are no easy answers here. There aren’t even difficult answers. Water cuts this severe will mean unemployment will soar and quite possibly that food prices will rise in response because less food is produced.  California Gov. Brown wants to build two huge tunnels to shunt water around the Delta and to the Central Valley and Los Angeles. As you might expect, commerce and residents in the Delta, which also has highly productive farmland as well as fishing, are dead set opposed to this. No one has a clue where the tens of billions to fund the tunnels will come from, especially since voters are leery of funding big projects. The last two attempts at a water bond on the ballot were pulled because the water bond had enough pork in it to fill a Midwest meat packing plant.

One possible solution is desalination. Siemens says they can do it using half the power previously needed. Even with that, a string of desal plants on the California coast would require huge amounts of electricity not readily available.

Calif Central Valley water war sign

Calif Central Valley water war sign

Sacramento Delta

Sacramento Delta

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Mandated renewable energy could trigger blackouts in California

California power plants that will need to retrofit to air-cooling instead of using ocean water

California power plants that will need to retrofit to air-cooling instead of using ocean water

Solar and wind power is variable by nature. To meet the California goal of 33% renewable energy by 2020, backup power is needed, primarily natural gas. But California doesn’t have the right mix of power now, a situation that will worsen because of new federal rules banning use of ocean water for cooling steam turbines. Nineteen power plants will be shut down to retrofit to air-cooling, and some may even close.

At a special meeting of California energy companies and regulators held Feb. 26, Todd Strauss of Pacific Gas & Electric saw the possibility of state power blackouts emerging in 2013 to 2015. The reason is that it has suddenly dawned on state power regulators that green power has resulted in a precarious lack of system flexibility in the state’s power grid.

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