California Electrical Grid Sources

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Well-known member
Apr 28, 2016
Rocklin, CA
I've been updating this annually over at PriusChat for a few years and thought a few here might find this interesting:

Another great year for California, continuing to lead in grid greening. Please note that for 2018, we came off a record rainfall 2017 year which briefly inflated hydro sources.

2018 California Electrical Grid Source data:

Highlights comparing 2018 to 2017:
(note units are percent total system power)

-coal mix is decreasing and only 3.30% (vast majority remains imported)
-natural gas use increased after being down for 3 consecutive years, now 34.91% of the power mix
-nuclear remains nearly stable, at 9.05%
-large hydro decreased from 14.7% to 10.68% (2017 had record rainfalls within CA)
-non-large hydro renewables grew and continue to climb rapidly, continuing a long trend, with a year-over-year 2.36% increase in the share of total power mix, to a current level of 31.36%
-wind continues to grow with new accelerating gains following some years of slowing increases, now 11.46%, up from 9.4%, briefly retaking the renewable lead from solar which took the lead for the first time in 2017
-solar (1 MW and larger facilities) increased to 11.40% (10.2% last year)
-small hydro fell as with large hydro as 2017 had a temporary burst with record rainfall that winter/spring
-still, the impact of solar above is greatly underestimated as “behind the meter” (BTM) home solar is not measured as only units generating 1MW or greater are counted; “BTM residential solar generation was estimated to be 13,582 GWh, a 20 percent increase from 2017”; therefore California probably gets ~17% total system electric generation from all sources of solar PV
-California total system electric generation was down 2 percent from 2017 and a major factors cited wereenergy efficiency programs and residential installs of BTM residential solar PV systems that directly displaced utility-supplied generation.
-California's non CO2 emitting electric generation categories (nuclear, large hydroelectric, and renewables) accounted for 53 percent of its generation, compared to 56 percent in 2017. As a result, in-state generation dropped by 6 percent (11,494 GWh) to 194,842 GWh. This decrease was due, in part, to reduced generation from hydroelectric power plants as dry conditions returned to the state. Net imports increased by 6 percent (4,944 GWh) to 90,648 GWh, partially offsetting the decline.
In Boost for Renewables, Grid-Scale Battery Storage Is on the Rise

Driven by technological advances, facilities are being built with storage systems that can hold enough renewable energy to power hundreds of thousands of homes. The advent of “big battery” technology addresses a key challenge for green energy — the intermittency of wind and solar.
DECEMBER 15, 2020
If you're in the south west solar isn't that intermittent.
Another way to make solar less intermittent is install the capacity on top of thousands of homes and businesses over maybe hundreds square miles instead of a solar farm covering a square mile that can easily be blocked by a cloud.