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More demand or less supply?
NERC is predicting California (and therefor Internet data centers in the region) may be subject to almost daily rolling blackout throughout the summer. Although most major Internet data centers have backup generators, the historical reliability data everyone uses is based on "normal" power conditions in the USA, not daily rolling blackouts. Is California really out of power? News reports indicate California is consuming less power than the same time last year. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/05/03/MN202545.DTL > Energy consumption was down 9.2 percent, or 2,967 megawatts in March > compared with the same time last year. In February, the number was 8 > percent, or 2,578 megawatts, and in January it was 6.2 percent or 2,091 > megawatts. So why are there power shortages in California? http://www.latimes.com/business/reports/power/lat_suit010518.htm > A Times analysis of state data found that, throughout the last two months, > about 12,000 megawatts of production was offline, more than a third of the > peak power used in California on a typical day. That has been about evenly > divided between scheduled and sudden plant shutdowns. > By contrast, shutdowns in the same period of 1999 and 2000 took only > 3,300 to 5,700 megawatts offline. Why is 2 to 3 times more capacity offline this year compared with previous years? I don't know. It appears the "supply" shortage is not due to increased demand, or even the lack of new power plant capacity; but due to the shutdown of existing capacity by generation companies at a higher rate than normal. Normally, when demand drops you would expect prices to fall. Consumption is down between 6.2% and 9.2%. However, in California generating companies have shut down power plants faster than demand fell, creating shortages and prices have been rising. It will be an interesting summer.