The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Palo Alto, Calif., recently issued a white paper presenting technical recommendations for solving the current California power crisis, which now has spread to the 11-state Western power grid. The document contains 18 specific actions to help resolve the crisis and establish a transition pathway to a sustainable electricity infrastructure, including the following recommendations:

  • Upgrades to existing power plants in that region through advanced maintenance procedures, diagnostics, and cost-effective retrofits, which would increase capacity by 5%.

  • Repairs to dysfunctional wholesale/retail power markets.

  • Improvements to existing transmission capability to achieve more throughput.

  • Pursuit of a balanced portfolio of generation sources to avert an overreliance on natural gas.

  • Acceleration of interconnection of clean distributed generation into the power grid to provide backup support.

  • Development and implementation of a comprehensive architecture for the power supply infrastructure that anticipates the rapidly escalating needs of the digital society.

The EPRI energy report highlights an array of technologies now available to correct market flaws, including software for effective market design, accurate simulation of market dynamics, implementation of market-based pricing, load (demand) management, conservation, and risk-based portfolio management techniques.

The entire report is available at http://www.epri.com/WesternStatesPowerCrisisSynthesis.pdf.