US trade group says natural gas still in play
The vice president of the American Gas Association said October 26 through social media that upgrading natural gas-powered plants during the energy transition is “quite reasonable.”
“Allowing gas-fired power plant upgrades is quite reasonable given the upcoming retirement of the Diablo nuclear power plant, the needs for dispatchable electricity generation capacity, and the inherent resilience of the gas system during peak events,” Richard Meyer, the vice president of the American Gas Association, said from his official Twitter account.
The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in California is the only one of its kind in operation in the state. Regulatory licenses for the two units at the reactor expire in November 2024 and August 2025, respectively.
In June, state regulators said at least 2,500 MW of “zero-emitting resources” were ordered to compensate for the closure of Diablo Canyon. To address that, and to further support energy security in the state, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered utilities to secure 11,500 MW of new electricity from “preferred resources,” including renewables and zero-emitting resources.
The procurement order, the state’s largest ever, is the equivalent of four large nuclear power plants or 20 natural gas plants.
By its nature, however, many forms of renewable energy are intermittent, necessitating battery storage or other stop-gap measures such as gas-fired plants.
The AGA said October 26 it was expecting a surge in demand in the coming months given recent forecasts for a colder winter in the region. Meyer said through his Twitter account that the debate is not, however, about gas versus renewables.
“All of these resources are complimentary, such that the value of gas-fired power capacity goes up as the shares of variable renewables on the grid increase,” he said.