California Should Cut Energy Reliance on Aliso Canyon, Commission Says


Los Angeles electricity

If two weeks of electricity outages this summer for the Los Angeles area sounds tough, this could actually be the start of a longer term power problem in the region. On Thursday, the California Energy Commission chairman said the state needs to reduce its reliance on natural gas resources from Aliso Canyon.

Aliso Canyon, one of the largest natural gas storage fields in the U.S., leaked an estimated 5.4 billion cubic feet of gas from October to February, before it was sealed. It is one of the few fields providing natural gas to 11 million customers in the Los Angeles basin. Currently, 15 billion cubic feet of natural gas is left in storage at Aliso Canyon.

“Depending upon where we are with the safety inspections and re-injections, [the 15 billion cubic feet] might be the only gas we have available for next winter in that storage field,” Robert Weisenmiller, chairman of the California Energy Commission, told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at a May 19 meeting.

I covered the meeting for subscribers in FERC: Aliso Canyon Gas Leak May Lead to Reliability Risk.

Ever since Southern California Gas stopped withdrawing gas from the field in January, the area has been relying on other storage fields. These fields don’t have the storage capacity that Aliso Canyon had before the leak, and that could lead to problems this summer when electricity demands increase.    

And it gets worse. California electricity costs may spike because of gas storage shortages at Aliso Canyon.