Intermittent Power from “Baseload” Nuclear Plant Raises Prices for Consumers
March 28, 2013
If a unit of distributed electric generation, say a wind turbine, or a solar panel, has a problem, you can shut it down and replace it without pulling a huge amount of power off the grid. You certainly wouldn’t have to evacuate a city, or raise anyone’s prices.
Of course, WindBaggers like to say that renewable energy is “intermittent” – as if EVERY form of energy wasn’t intermittent. Nothing operates 100 percent – the question is, do you have a system that is cumbersome, expensive, and brittle, or resilient and forgiving when something goes wrong
The outages of both units at Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), starting in January 2012, have created a persistent spread in wholesale power prices between Northern and Southern California.
Historically, wholesale power prices for Northern and Southern California tracked closely with one another, indicating minimal market differences between the two areas. However, after the shutdown of SONGS in early 2012, the relatively inexpensive nuclear generation produced by SONGS had to be replaced with power from more expensive sources.
Consequently, since April 2012 Southern California power prices have persistently exceeded Northern California prices, with the spread averaging $4.15/MWh, or 12 percent of the Northern California price.
Before Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) got shut down, wholesale power prices for Southern California (SoCal) and Northern California (NorCal) were essentially the same. However, since SONGS stopped producing power, SoCal has consistently seen higher wholesale power prices than NorCal. Here’s a graph illustrating the wholesale power markets in SoCal and NorCal:
Wind vs Baseload myths discussed here.