SC Edison 2016 Power Mix Compared With 2015, and Green Rate Plans
The first thing we notice for 2016 is that unspecified is still at 41%, as it was in 2015. We have been taking these as efficient natural gas plants, and, as we will see below, so has SC Edison. The state is trying to close this loophole. Coal has remained at zero percent. The other CO2 emitting source, natural gas, has taken a significant drop from 26% to 19%. Including unspecified as natural gas, gives total natural gas dropping from 67% to 60%. At 0.922 pounds of CO2 per kWh for natural gas, emissions have dropped from 0.62 to 0.55 pounds of CO2 per kWh. In terms of clean energy, including Nuclear and Large Hydro, SCE 2015 was 33%, and it has now jumped to 40%.
SC Edison is providing two Green Rate options. The simplest one is the Green Rate 100% option, which is 100% Solar. It also requires an explanation, which was not provided. After the sun sets, are you drawing on still-heated oil at a solar plant, or are renewables somehow substituted?
We compare the Green Rate 50% option with the normal plan for 2016, starting with the amount of CO2 emissions from natural gas. The Green Rate 50% has 10% Natural Gas, plus 20% Unspecified, which we take as Natural Gas, for a total of 30% Natural Gas. This gives 0.28 pounds of CO2 per kWh. The normal plan has 19% Natural Gas, plus 41% Unspecified, which we take as natural gas, giving 60% Natural Gas. Apparently, SCE has done the same calculation, which is why the Green Rate 50% has half the amount of Natural Gas as the normal plan. The normal plan gives 0.55 pounds of CO2 per kWh, or twice the amount of the Green Rate 50% plan.
The normal plan for 2016 has 40% clean energy, and the Green Rate 50% has 70% clean. The normal plan includes clean Large Hydro at 6% and Nuclear at 6%. The rest of clean power in the normal plan, are the 28% renewables. The renewables in the normal plan are 10% Solar, 10% Wind, 7% Geothermal, and 1% Biomass & Waste.
The Green Rate 50% plan with 70% clean energy has 64% Renewables, 3% Large Hydro, and 3% Nuclear. In the Renewables, are 55% Solar, 5% Wind, and 4% Geothermal.
What is great about the Green plans, is that you may be lazy, or hesitant about investing in a no-initial-cost plan in which you can’t analyze the returns, or you may not have the money to buy your own solar cells, or you may have a condo or an apartment and cannot modify your roof, or you may not want to invest yet, when you expect the efficiency of solar cells to increase and the cost to come down. That is now all taken care of for you, and you only have to pay a small amount as you go. You are also using solar farms in the desert where you don’t have to do the cleaning, which have cost reductions from buying in large quantities, have cheaper installation, and don’t burden power utilities with balancing scattered sources and punishing rebate rules. They also have maximum insolation or sunshine, without coastal marine layers. Although desert power travels long distances, it does so at very high voltage, which minimizes losses.