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   PastimesThe California Energy Crisis - Information & Forum


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To: deepenergyfella who started this subject2/4/2001 11:45:30 AM
From: deepenergyfella
   of 1715
 
US West's Power Crisis Offers Tough Choice

Feb 3 4:54pm ET By Nigel Hunt

PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) - Sacrifices must be made if the lights are to stay on in power-starved western U.S. states and regional governors at an emergency "summit" are being forced to contemplate stark choices.

The welfare of endangered salmon, plans for cleaner air and the jobs of thousands of workers were hanging in the balance this week as governors from 10 states groped for answers on how to tackle the chronic shortage of electricity that already has caused rolling blackouts in northern California.

A bungled California deregulation experiment coupled with an unexpected surge in demand have created an acute electricity shortage, sending wholesale power prices skyrocketing.

At the governors' meeting here, leaders of Native American tribes in the Northwest made a plea to protect the salmon as water normally used to help their spring migration has already been partly used up for power generation.

"We have run the hydro system harder than it was supposed to be run this year," said Steven Wright, acting administrator for the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) which operates massive hydropower dams in the region.

"We are drawing down the reservoirs thereby compromising the spring flush for salmon,"

The dams and their massive power-generating turbines pose a threat to the salmon which swim the rivers of the Northwest.

BPA usually redirects millions of gallons of water in the spring to ensure the fish are not killed by the turbines' huge blades.

Several summit participants pointed out that the salmon could be saved, but only at the cost of another environmental goal: cleaner air.

Power plants' 2001 pollution allowances have been cut and reversing that move would allow the plants to generate more electricity.

"We need a moratorium on having the air cleaner for a period," said Peter Esposito of independent power producer Dynegy , who argued that an extra 3,000 to 4,000 megawatts of electricity would show up if emission controls were not tightened. One megawatt can power around 1,000 homes.

However, Los Angeles is already one of the most polluted cities in the United States and power plant emissions there have been linked to serious illnesses such as asthma.

Many of California's power plants are more than 30 years old and the struggle to avoid blackouts has also meant that the plants could not be idled for months to allow upgrading to reduce pollution emissions.

"These are dirty plants," noted Esposito.

Sky-high power prices have already led to thousands of job cuts in the region. Operators of power-hungry aluminum smelters are among those who have opted to shut down. Other power-intensive industries like food processing and refrigeration have also been hard hit.

Alan Richardson, chief executive officer of utility PacifiCorp, a unit of Scottish Power Plc. , said his company was talking to farmers in Idaho, Utah and Oregon and asking them to consider taking "a long summer holiday."

Farmers use much needed water and energy to irrigate their crops and utilities like PacifiCorp are willing to pay them for power they will save if they decide not to plant this year.

Richardson said current prices of many crops are already depressed, so the utility was getting a good response.

"We are using the willing buyer, willing seller concept," he told the emergency meeting.

The quest to conserve power may have other consequences this summer as commercial consumers seek to moderate their use of power-hungry air conditioning systems.

"I think this will be a casual summer in California with a lot of short sleeves and no ties," said Severin Borenstein, director of the University of California Energy Institute.

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To: deepenergyfella who started this subject2/4/2001 5:20:13 PM
From: deepenergyfella
   of 1715
 
If California dot.coms continue to run out of a reliable power supply, then investors might use sites like this one to get the scoop on how it is impacting the various companies.

So I'm adding GOTO and INSP to my watch list because in 6 months time I can see people would have good reason to visit the site, or even subscribe because the portal has so much relevant business and stock information on the California companies.

def

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To: deepenergyfella who wrote (25)2/6/2001 1:06:17 AM
From: Angler
   of 1715
 
DPnNRGfella:

I will watch GOTO and INSP for a while; they're cheap enough for a shot.

However, I still think the best pure power plant play is CPN. They've got plants that will fit in anywhere just like the little imported compacts and subcompacts that turned the business of Detroit around during the aftermath of the Arab fuel crisis in '74.

Small is beautiful to the environmentalists especially since their plants don't burn oil and coal.

Angler

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To: Angler who wrote (26)2/6/2001 8:26:09 PM
From: deepenergyfella
   of 1715
 
Angler, I liked your analogy "...just like the little imported compacts and subcompacts that turned the business of Detroit around"

I agree, and think small power generators will sell well
in the next decade from what I've read.

Off-topic Have you heard of a small company called Capstone? They apparently, make these little miniature gas turbines that are being used at wellsites and for some new hybrid cars. The wellsite ones I can see being a big seller
in next few years or so, rather than running into other types power supply that might not be as reliable.

def

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To: deepenergyfella who wrote (27)2/6/2001 10:54:46 PM
From: Angler
   of 1715
 
Capstone? No, it's a new one on me. I'll check it out.

Angler

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To: deepenergyfella who started this subject2/7/2001 9:08:57 PM
From: deepenergyfella
   of 1715
 
Just my luck...INSP was in my 'watch list' instead of my
'real' portfolio and today it surges 37%.

def

"InfoSpace surges on promise of "improved" outlook
SEATTLE, Feb 7 (Reuters) - InfoSpace Inc. (NASDAQ:INSP) shares surged nearly 37 percent on Wednesday after the supplier of content and tools for Web sites and wireless services said it would detail an "improved" financial outlook next week.

InfoSpace stock rose $1-11/32 to $5 in Nasdaq trading, a day after it hit a year low of $3-1/2, but still far below its 52-week high of $138-1/2."

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To: deepenergyfella who wrote (24)2/8/2001 2:50:04 PM
From: Don Knowlton
   of 1715
 
The Republicans are trying to put pressure on Gray Davis. See the petition at this link:
Web Site: saveourpower.com

Also, on the radio news last night there was a report that state senators in Davis's own party are demanding that he reveal his "plan" in a written document. They seem to be afraid that he does not have one.

The SJ Mercury reports this morning that many critics are complaining that in the last 20 days he has secretly spent almost $1 billion of taxpayer money for spot market electricity with no accountability or reporting.

Maybe there is not really a leader at the state level who can get California out of the mess created by the state government.

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To: Don Knowlton who wrote (30)2/10/2001 8:38:47 PM
From: Angler
   of 1715
 
Sounds to me like "deals" are being made behind closed doors.

I hope not.

I think Senator Feinstein had it right. We're just going to have to get used to paying more for energy in the short run. If they mask it somehow to keep consumers' bills down and then have a balloon payment in later years, we'll be worse off than ever. For one thing cheap rates encourage more waste and less conservation.

Better to bite the bullet now.

Angler

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To: deepenergyfella who started this subject2/11/2001 11:51:21 AM
From: deepenergyfella
   of 1715
 
These $30 Million in bonuses are a pretty decent incentive...for just a 'peaker' plant. Does anyone know of any companies that build them?

Friday February 9 6:04 AM ET
Calif. Races To Open More Plants
By JENNIFER COLEMAN, Associated Press Writer

...The governor's latest plan is designed to add 5,000 megawatts - enough to power 5 million homes - to California's power grid by summer by cutting down on paperwork and streamlining the approval process for small natural gas or renewable-fuel power plants that would run only during peak hours. Plants online by summer would be eligible for $30 million in bonuses...

...Davis asked President Bush (news - web sites) to direct federal agencies to issue permits for small plants within the same time frame. The White House said it is reviewing the request...

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To: sea_biscuit who wrote (18)2/11/2001 2:57:48 PM
From: James R. Barrett
   of 1715
 
The solution is simple.

Nuclear Power Plants.
Nuclear Power Plants.
Nuclear Power Plants.
Nuclear Power Plants.
Nuclear Power Plants.
Nuclear Power Plants.

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