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California To Import Hydropower To Meet Summer Demand

May 15, 2014

Friant Dam - file photo
Credit San Joaquin River Restoration Program

California energy officials say there’s less hydropower available in the state because of the drought. But as Steve Milne reports from Sacramento, the state plans to meet peak summer demand by importing power.

California may not have had much rain but its neighbors to the north are in better shape. Cal-ISO, the agency that manages the state’s energy supply, says that’s where California will get some of its hydropower this summer.

Cal-ISO’s Steven Greenlee says California will have about 1,500 megawatts less of in-state hydroelectricity than last year.

Steven Greenlee: “That is being partially offset by the hydroelectricity from the Pacific Northwest where they’re having an average to just a tad above average year. It looks like we’ll be able to import their excess capacity during those peak times when we need it here in California.”

Greenlee says Cal-ISO will also be leaning more heavily on natural gas as well as solar and wind power to generate electricity.

He says barring any extreme events, such as prolonged heat waves or wildfires that damage transmission lines, the state will have adequate power supplies this summer.