American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - 20

IndustryDigest
California Pushes
Batteries, Renewables
For Peak Power Needs

SACRAMENTO, CA.-Regulatory
action in California undercuts natural
gas as the presumed fuel to back up
intermittent power sources and may
impact how U.S. utilities meet peak
power needs.
In a Jan. 11 resolution, the California
Public Utilities Commission ordered the
Pacific Gas and Electric Company to
change how it meets peak power needs.
The PUC required PG&E to shift away
from buying power from three natural
gas-fired generation facilities in
northern California owned by Calpine,
to batteries or other nonfossil fuel
resources, the commission states.
Under the order, PG&E must issue a
request for offer for battery storage or
another preferred source to replace
Calpine's Feather River, Yuba and
Metcalf facilities. The three generating
facilities don't have long-term contracts
with PG&E, but have been identified by
the California Independent System
Operator (CAISO), which oversees the
state's bulk electric power system, as
being needed to serve local reliability
needs, the commission says.
Calpine and CAISO indicate they
have asked the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission to designate

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20 THE AMERICAN OIL & GAS REPORTER

the three generating facilities as "must
run" for reliability reasons, which
would allow Calpine to operate the
plants on a cost-of-service contract. The
state utility commission opposes that,
arguing the designation would distort
electric markets, and that cleaner, less
expensive alternatives-including battery
storage-are available.
According to the resolution, PG&E
must solicit bids for energy storage and
preferred resources to address
deficiencies in two areas it serves, and
to manage voltage issues in another.
California has set a goal of securing
half its electric power from wind and
solar sources by 2030. Media reports
indicate natural gas-fired generation
declined in the state to 36 percent in
2016 from 42 percent a decade earlier.
The state's power grid is running a
surplus on some days, reducing the need
for peak generation facilities.
According to Calpine, the company
told state regulators in 2017 economic
forces were pushing it to retire several
peaking plants, but California
determined the power grid still needed
the backup sources and authorized
Calpine to sign profitable, must-run
contracts in 2018.
In November 2016, the company told
CAISO it wanted to terminate
participating generator agreements with
four of its northern California peaking
units. The company stated the units no
longer were economic to operate at
current energy and capacity prices,
adding CAISO's capacity procurement
mechanism doesn't allow for sufficient
planning to allow it to make major
maintenance or budget decisions.
CAISO says at least two of those
peaking units are needed to meet local
capacity needs. r

Keystone XL Proceeds
After Getting Sufficient
Firm Oil Commitments

CALGARY,-TransCanada Corp. has
concluded the open season on its
planned Keystone XL Pipeline, securing
500,000 barrels a day of firm, 20-year
commitments, which the company says
allows the proposed project to proceed
while it continues to secure additional
long-term contracted volumes.
The announcement comes after a
November decision by the Nebraska

Public Service Commission to approve
a Keystone XL route through the state
(AOGR, Dec. 2017, pg. 16). Press
accounts note that TransCanada's
announcement stops short of a final
decision on the project, but allows the
company to begin preparing for
construction. Meanwhile a number of
anti-development groups continue to
vow opposition, the reports note.
TransCanada President and Chief
Executive Officer Russ Girling lauds
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, saying
her government's support of the
project-which includes a 50,000 bbl/d
commitment-was instrumental in
securing the necessary commercial
support to proceed. He also offers praise
for some U.S. public officials and allies.
"We thank President Donald Trump
and his administration for their
continued support and appreciate the
ongoing efforts of Nebraska Governor
Pete Ricketts, the Nebraska legislative
and congressional delegation, Omaha
Federation of Labor, Nebraska State
AFL-CIO, our customers, and various
stakeholders to advance this project,"
Girling says.
TransCanada says it is continuing
outreach in the communities where the
pipeline will be constructed and is
working collaboratively with
landowners in an open and transparent
way to obtain the necessary easements
for the approved route. Construction
preparation has commenced and will
increase as the permitting process
advances throughout 2018, with
primary construction expected to begin
in 2019, the company says. r

Wyoming's EORI Seeks
Projects To Help Fund

CASPER, WY.-The Petroleum
Association of Wyoming notes that the
University of Wyoming's Enhanced Oil
Recovery Institute (EORI) has initiated
a request for proposals designed to
acquire real-world Wyoming reservoir
operating data in partnership with
technology vendors and operators. The
institute says data collected from
approved projects will be used by its
research, engineering and geology staff
to analyze Wyoming reservoirs and
technologies.
EORI says the program, which is
open to all oil and gas operators and


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American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - 1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - 1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - 2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - February 2018 - Contents
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