A more detailed look at the California grid data

In the June “Renewable California” post I presented a brief analysis of California’s progress towards its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 based on annual generation data. Hourly grid data for the period between April 20, 2010 and March 9, 2016 are now available, and this post reviews them to see what they add. The conclusion is basically the same as before – that despite all the legislation that California has passed in an attempt to stimulate the growth of renewables the state has not progressed at all. The percentage of renewables in California’s energy mix is still about the same as it was in 2010 and the percentage of low-carbon generation in the mix has decreased slightly. The California “Duck Curve” also remains a matter of concern.

Data sources:

The data used in this post are from the California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO), which combines grid data from electricity producers in California. They were reportedly collated by Todd D. and linked to in a comment by Thinkstoomuch in the June 2016 “Renewable California” post, so a hat tip to these two gentlemen. The data are contained in this XLS spreadsheet.

Daily average data plots:

The CAISO data are provided at hourly intervals so the spreadsheet contains over 50,000 lines. Plotting the data for the entire 6-year period would have generated a very messy graph, so I calculated daily means and plotted them instead. The results are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Daily average generation by source, April 20, 2010 to March 9, 2016

The first thing one notices is how little things have changed over the last six years. Demand (assumed to be equal to total generation) has been flat over this period. Thermal generation and imports have remained substantially the same. Renewables generation has increased, but this increase is offset by a decrease in hydro generation, which CAISO puts in a separate category. The decrease in nuclear generation caused by the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant in early 2012 is, however, clearly visible. Also evident is the seasonal lag between hydro generation, renewables generation and imports, which peak in or around June, and demand, which peaks in or around September.

We will now take a look at individual generation sources. Figure 2 plots thermal generation, which is effectively all natural gas (see Figure 4 in the “Renewables California” post). Thermal generation increased to pick up the slack after the San Onofre shutdown in 2012 but since then it has been flat:

Figure 2: Daily average thermal generation, April 20, 2010 to March 9, 2016

Figure 3 plots imports from out-of-state power plants, some of which are wholly or partly owned by California utilities and some of which are not. The generation mix is not broken out, but a significant proportion of it is believed to be coal. Imports tend to peak around mid-year, two or three months before the demand peak, probably because hydro generation from the Bonneville dam – another significant source of California’s imports –peaks at this time:

Figure 3: Daily average imports, April 20, 2010 to March 9, 2016

Next comes renewables. It’s a commentary on the California mindset that while imports are not segregated by source renewables are segregated into no fewer than seven categories (Figure 4). We see no growth in geothermal, biomass, biogas and small hydro and only minor growth in wind. Only solar PV has grown substantially. (Solar thermal is insignificant. I had to color it black to make it visible.)

Figure 4: Daily average renewables generation by source, April 20, 2010 to March 9, 2016

An interesting feature of Figure 4 is that wind generation peaks around mid-year and decreases to near-zero in the winter, just like solar only more pronounced. According to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) this is because sea breezes in California blow strongly in the summer but die in the winter and because the major wind farms are located in mountain passes close to the coast where the sea breeze effect is amplified.

An even more interesting feature of the plot is that for reasons best known to the state of California large hydro (50MW or more) is not considered to be a renewable resource. Figure 5 shows what Figure 4 looks like when large hydro is counted as renewable generation, which it unquestionably should be. Now it’s difficult to see any growth in renewables at all:

Figure 5: Daily average renewables plus hydro generation, April 20, 2010 to March 9, 2016

Another source of power is also ignored. California can measure its progress towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions only by taking all low-carbon generation sources into account, and these include nuclear. Figure 6 accordingly adds nuclear generation to the Figure 5 data. Now the percentage of low-carbon generation in California’s energy mix shows an overall decrease since 2010:

Figure 6: Daily average renewables plus hydro plus nuclear (equals total low-carbon) generation, April 20, 2010 to March 9, 2016

Figure 7, which plots the percentage of California’s total generation contributed by the main generation sources in each year, summarizes the above results, with the black line defining the contribution of low-carbon sources. The key event was clearly the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant in 2012, which based on the rate of low-carbon growth since 2012 set California back by at least five years in its quest for a low-carbon future. Diablo Canyon, California’s one remaining nuclear plant, is now scheduled for shutdown in 2025.

Figure 7: Percent average annual generation by source, April 20, 2010 to March 9, 2016. Note that 2010 and 2016 do not contain a full year of data.

Hourly data plots:

Plots of hourly data are messy at any scale exceeding a few months, so here I concentrate on the high-demand period during August and September 2015. Figure 8 plots the hourly data for this period:

Figure 8: Hourly generation by source, August and September,2015

Peak demand of 47.3GW occurred at 5pm on September 10. (Note this is an hourly average; the short-term peak demand would have been higher). Load-following over the two-month period shown was performed dominantly by thermal (gas-fired) plants with an assist from hydro. Renewables and imports did not contribute significantly. The R squared values obtained by correlating individual generation sources with total generation are:

  • Thermal 0.83
  • Hydro 0.74
  • Renewables 0.19
  • Imports 0.03

Renewables show a small positive correlation with total generation because the pre-noon increase in solar generation happens to coincide with the morning increase in demand, although the post-noon solar generation decrease does not. Baseload nuclear is of course uncorrelated with total generation.

Figure 9, which shows generation by source during the seven days between September 6 and 12, provides more information on California’s load-following procedures during high-demand periods. Most of the load-following requirements were handled by thermal, but in this case renewables, hydro and imports also contributed :

Figure 9: Contributions of different generation sources to load-following, hourly data, September 6 to 12, 2015

The table below quantifies the load-following contribution from each of the main generation sources between minimum demand and peak demand on September 10 and between peak demand on September 10 and minimum demand on September 11:

About 60% of the load-following requirement was met by thermal while the remaining 40% was met in a roughly even three-way split between hydro, imports and renewables. However, only hydro and imports were cycled in a controlled manner (note how Figure 9 shows imports being cut back during early morning low-demand periods). Renewables made a net overall contribution to load following only because solar generation is zero during early morning low demand periods and positive during the day. The fact that the solar peak occurs several hours before the demand peak creates a different set of concerns that have become known as the California Duck Curve, which is discussed below.

The “California Duck Curve”

Here it is plotted up. The reasons for calling it the “duck curve” are apparent.

Figure 10: The California “Duck Curve”

Figure 10 shows the demand curves that would have to be tracked by load-following generation as increasing amounts of solar generation are admitted to the grid. The curve gets progressively steeper in the late afternoon as more solar generation is added, raising concerns as to whether load-following plants will be able to ramp up quickly enough to keep pace with demand. The problem is thought to most serious on or around March 31, so I plotted up the data for the three day period from March 30 through April 1, 2015. Figure 11 shows total generation (again assumed to be equal to demand) over this period. Ramp rates are generally low on the upside of the demand curve and higher but not excessive on the downside:

Figure 11: Total generation, hourly data, March 30 through April 1, 2015

Figure 12 now superimposes solar generation and shows the resulting demand curve that other generation sources had to track. Ramp rates were about the same on the up and down sides of the demand curve, but nowhere excessive:

Figure 12: Total generation, hourly data, March 30 through April 1, 2015 with solar generation superimposed. The gray bars show the resulting demand curve.

Figure 13 shows how the main generation sources combined to match the Figure 12 demand curve. Most of the load-following was handled by thermal generation, with an assist from hydro and occasional minor contributions from imports and “other renewables” (renewables less solar).

Figure 13: Contributions of different generation sources to load-following, hourly data, March 30 through April 1, 2015

In summary, 2015 seems to have passed without a duck curve problem. But things will deteriorate rapidly if the amount of solar admitted to the grid continues to increase in coming years. Had there, for example, been twice as much solar in 2015 the impact would have been as shown in Figure 15. Ramp rates on the upside of the demand curve would have reached 15GW in three hours, and CAISO is concerned that California’s “very old” steam turbine plants may not be able to handle long-term ramp rates this high:

Figure 14: Total generation, hourly data, March 30 through April 1, 2015 assuming twice as much solar generation. The gray bars show the resulting demand curve.

A final uncertainty remains to be discussed. Do the CAISO data include unmetered solar from rooftop and other private solar installations? If not the CAISO estimates of solar generation will be too low and the duck curve problem worse than shown. According to this comment from Peter Gleick unmetered generation is included in the EIA state grid data but not the CAISO grid data. I took a quick look at the EIA data but was unable to reconcile them with the CAISO data (2014 nuclear and wind generation compare within a percent or two but CAISO shows 14% more solar generation, 16% more total generation and 36% less geothermal generation than EIA). These discrepancies need to be looked into, but that will have to be the subject of another post.

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44 Responses to A more detailed look at the California grid data

  1. Dave Rutledge says:

    Hi Roger,

    Timely. It is fair to say that alternatives have not yet made a dent in fossil-fuel electricity generation in California, Thermal is 102TWh in 2005 vs 118TWh in 2015. However, my electricity bills are going up, although not as much as in Germany.

    Do you have another reference for the EIA including unmetered sources (self-generation)? I would not use Peter Gleick as a reference:


    The California Energy Almanac only includes self-generated electricity for capacities of 1MW and up,


    which means it does not include any residential solar arrays.

    I think CAISO may be high on solar because some of the solar farms use natural gas as a secondary source. This is reported to CAISO as solar, but it gets straightened out in the annual California Energy Almanac.


    • Willem Post says:

      It looks like CA renewables, about 20% in 2015, were growing about 1% per year in prior years, according to the URL you provided.

      • Dave Rutledge says:

        Hi Willem,

        Yes, the renewables share is up.

        As Roger has noted, in California, as in other places, this can be largely offset by the drop in nuclear power. California also does not count large hydro (> 30MW) as renewables and that has dropped. That is why in-state fossil-fuel generation has not gone down.


    • Thanks Dave. I haven’t looked into sources of data for unmetered solar intallations in California – I assume yours is one 😉 – but will do so as time permits.

  2. Willem Post says:


    I always marvel at your ability to create such great articles, and analyze the data.

    Much of the imports, other than hydro, is coal fired thermal; Mohave Desert, New Mexico, coal comes to mind.

    For California to ignore that, shows extreme hypocrisy.

    I wonder if such an article could be done on Germany.

    NREL keeps track of rooftop data.
    EIA does not.

    • Willem Post says:


      The world fossil percentage of all energy was about 78% for the years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.

      No progress, despite investments, and a lot of jumping up and down over the years.

      • And it’s predicted to be about 78% in 2030.

        • Willem Post says:

          When various energy sources are stacked, as you did in your graphs, the variability of wind and solar energy is submerged.

          The energy variability of most of the other sources is increased due the presence of wind and solar.

          All around a messier situation.

          It would be instructive to have a set of graphs of a grid with very little wind and solar, i.e., a traditional grid, for historical purposes.

          • It would be instructive to have a set of graphs of a grid with very little wind and solar, i.e., a traditional grid, for historical purposes.

            Indeed it would. So why don’t you give it a shot? All the data you will need are in the XLS spreadsheet link at the beginning of the post.

  3. Todd D. says:

    Thanks for this detailed analysis, Roger. If one wanted to keep that spreadsheet right up-to-date within one day, all the CAISO data is here (the “Daily Renewables Output Data” links) http://www.caiso.com/green/renewableswatch.html . For example, here’s the hourly data for Oct. 11, 2016 http://content.caiso.com/green/renewrpt/20161011_DailyRenewablesWatch.txt. Also, it seems CAISO themselves are also aware of these challenges to run a reliable grid as more renewables are added http://www.caiso.com/Documents/FlexibleResourcesHelpRenewables_FastFacts.pdf I find this article discussing the duck curve and pond quite informative http://www.power-eng.com/articles/print/volume-120/issue-3/features/the-duck-pond.html

  4. Erica Skoko says:

    Thanks for the duck pond link Todd. It seems inevitable that the need for flexible cycling plants will be necessary to handle increased wind and solar power. Where does all this money come from if nobody is working in the extractive industry’s for coal, gas, and oil, or allowed to work in it to develop these new kinds of technology. Do we just throw out the banking system and start over? Alberta just added 3 new coal powered electricity plants that would see us through until 2061. Our current socialist government has stated she will mothball them all by 2030, introduce a carbon tax in December that will supposedly attract 30 billion dollars in foreign investment for such projects by offering subsidies to investors from the backs of everyone. I don’t get it? 68% of Alberta electricity is generated from coal and those plants are not that cheap to build with low emission technology. I still can’t understand why anthropogenic global warming has become so entrenched in human ideology, I just find it so strange.

    • Wookey says:

      “I still can’t understand why anthropogenic global warming has become so entrenched in human ideology”

      Why is that hard to understand? It’s a major threat to our way of life, and thus a very big deal. And due to not taking it seriously for a long time we have an unreasonably short time to try and deal with it, which is disruptive and expensive.

  5. Pingback: A More Detailed Look At The California Grid Data | SMIPP Ltd.

  6. cafuccio says:

    Roger, you could also have a look at Mike Shellenberg slides on Renewables California:

  7. Euan Mearns says:

    Yet another pitiful example of a State trying to reduce CO2 emissions by closing nuclear.

  8. One of the problems with once through cooling on the older sets will be water quality. You are not going to have much treatment on the service side water when you are requiring thousands of m3/h through the condensing sets. This will lead to some drop in efficiency and an increased in Tsteam per MW generated as the condenser vacuum degrades.

    A knock on is that the demin side water in such plants tend (though not necessarily) to be of worse quality. Again a knock on efficiency and T/MW as well as deposition on the turbine blades.

    Finally when we ramp our older turbines, we can experience vibration issues. So we don’t tend to. I would not like to see a 1950’s TA set ramping daily.

  9. gweberbv says:

    From my perspective the expansion of (non-hydro) renewable energy sources was successful insofar as it compensated for the huge drop in hydro production during the recent drought. Don’t underestimate this achievement.

    And I tend to regard this ‘duck curve’ as a fake problem. If you are going to invest dozens of billions into wind/PV/hydro and grid extensions, you should also invest a few billions in adapting the conventional thermal plants for high ramp rates. If the latter is a real problem, just forget about the former. It’s like building a new house, but not wanting to spend money for a garden shed.

    • Thinkstoomuch says:

      gweberbv, for your second paragraph.

      Where is the economic model or numbers to support this investment. In the US private investors are the ones building the power plants, wind turbines and solar arrays. They do this using the system as it is currently run to generate a return on investment. How are you going to do this spending millions or a billion here or there and allow them to generate a similar return.

      The way CA (and the EPA after reading the duck pond link) is doing it is, IMO, more than somewhat insane. More a process to find a way to around raising taxes. The state government is giving tax breaks, generating amusing(in a sick sort of way) regulations and so forth, to make the economics work.

      Of course the state government are failing to account for the fact that if tax revenues decrease somewhere they need to be made up somewhere else. Like say higher taxes percentage on the eletrical energy used by consumers and businesses, thus screwing up their economics.

      Probably a poorly communicated thought.

      But, there is no such thing as a free lunch no matter how you try to do it. It has to be paid for somehow.

      I keep trying to figure a way to do what you suggest and fail miserably to come up with anything like a reasonable solution. Generic statements seem reasonable but end up back at the above.


      • Greg Kaan says:

        Well put. The “investment” in wind farms and solar have been made in isolation.

        Perhaps those companies and individuals who have “invested” in these generators should have been made to fund the adaptation of the conventional thermal plants for high ramp rates.

        • singletonengineer says:

          Greg, the changes needed to allow for ever- faster ramp rates are virtually insurmountable.

          Once discussion turns to making high temperature steam components thinner in order to reduce thermal stresses and relative deflections, the discussion ends. Can’t be done without entire rebuild – and who is going to redesign and reconstruct today a boiler or turbine or heat exchanger that has been in service for 20 or more years?

          When it comes to changing operating parameters for existing steam plant, the options available quickly become a trade-off between projected remaining life of plant Vs maintenance costs Vs ramp rates. When I first entered the power game, it was common to hear it said that it is not the number of hours in service that determines the life of a (coal fired) power station, but the number of starts. Stop/start driving damages automobiles. Power stations are similar.

          For comparison, who would ever recommend modifying an existing passenger car because its owner has decided to use it for extreme motorsport? Would such a hybrid be able to compete on performance and price against purpose-manufactured vehicles with special design features, materials, components and systems built in during production?

          • Greg Kaan says:

            Adaptation includes complete replacement of plant that is incapable of meeting the ramp requirements, IMO.

            And it should be funded by owners of the generators that set the ramp requirements. I feel that only is fair.

    • Guenther: Relative to your first paragraph. The California drought resulted in the loss of 2GW of low-carbon hydro generation between 2011 and 2015, or about 7% of California’s total generation. This isn’t “huge”. The shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant in 2012 also resulted in the loss of 2GW of low-carbon generation but no one seems to care about that.

  10. Thinkstoomuch says:

    Thank you for another wonderful post..

    In a poor connection campground in Virginia so won’t be making many comments on it right away, probably a good thing 🙂 !

    One thing about the wind I have been noticing from this summer’s CASIO data is that like all sea breezes it declines as solar increases and increases after solar goes away. So it somewhat balances the solar in the summer. Not sure how many “good” areas are left though?

    Thamks again for a wondsrful analysis post Roger!


    • I don’t have the data for California, but it looks like Roger has.

      I did a complementary analysis for German and Spain based on hourly data, to see if wind complemented solar and vice versa. Whee solar was zero, about 450% of the total wind generation was on. However when wind was at zero, only 5% of the solar total was there. So wind complemented somewhat, solar didn’t. Spain was worse.

      The reason is simple, low capacity factors.

  11. Mark Allen says:

    Very good article, I will make sure that some of these plots make their way to California energy commission.
    I visited Casio recently, who informed me that they have no access to behind the meter rooftop solar generation data, since they receive net supply and demand actials and projections from the IOU’s (who do have estimates for this figure). As adoption of rooftop solar increases this will exacerbate the duck curve effect.
    The decline in hydro is attributable to diminishing rainfall patterns in California over the past few years, which is a concern and set to continue according to climate model projections. A significant minimum amount of water needs to be diverted to river flows, exaggerating the net available flows available for hydro power.
    On the once through cooling side, a 600 MW power station such as NRG’s gas fired plant at Carlsbad pumps through over 500 million gallons per day (79,000 m3/hr). Diablo Canyon once through cooling is approximately 4x this figure to cool the 2 GW plant. Following state legislation prohibiting OTC, many coastal power plants are being switched to air cooling technology, again such as Carlsbad is scheduled to do in circa 2018. Much of the California coastline is impacted by OTC discharge plumes, which will hopefully be ameliorated by this phasing out effort.
    Looking ahead, the majority of future generation capacity additions to the state’s portfolio will be solar, hence the emphasis on storage that is being so fervently pursued to firm this non despatchable resource. Solutions such as demand response are also playing a small role in smoothing out demand, being more cost effective than operating gas leakers which enjoy high capacity payments given their low uptime. The recent Porter Ranch gas leak at Los Angeles has further exposed the system’s vulnerability, with gas storage (injection and production) being severely constrained over the next 12 months while integrity checks are performed on the older wells.
    There are a number of interesting papers published by NREL which explore the impact of increasing solar penetration, and the corresponding requirements for more storage capacity. Stanford University’s Precourt Institute of Energy has also written an interesting paper about the state’s challenges of “hitting the solar wall”, the impact of which is increased curtailment of solar generation and corresponding reduction in revenues.
    To address this requirement, state bill AB2514 was passed in October 2013, with California’s Public Utilities Commission mandating the three Californian IOU’s to procure an aggregate 1.3 GW of storage capacity by 2020. PG&E and SoCal Edison have started down this avenue. The recent extension of Caiso’s market to access the broader WECC region was also welcomed by many stakeholders as an important solution to the curtailment issue. By connecting solar generation in a longitudinal zenith extending from California to Arizona and Nevada, the aggregate solar peak could be partially smeared across a broader market.
    Mexico has also undertaken to follow California’s example, legislating 35% of electricity generation to be produced from non-fossil sources by 2024 (it is currently 22% non-fossil), which will require vast capacity additions and grid firming.

    • “On the once through cooling side, a 600 MW power station such as NRG’s gas fired plant at Carlsbad pumps through over 500 million gallons per day (79,000 m3/hr). Diablo Canyon once through cooling is approximately 4x this figure to cool the 2 GW plant. Following state legislation prohibiting OTC, many coastal power plants are being switched to air cooling technology, again such as Carlsbad is scheduled to do in circa 2018. Much of the California coastline is impacted by OTC discharge plumes, which will hopefully be ameliorated by this phasing out effort.”

      Why? I can understand going away from once through to a semi closed loop (still with a cooling tower) but going to air, especially in a hot climate will mean higher condenser temps and thus lower efficiency. Hell if you are worried about the plumes, you can get technology to dissipate the plumes.

  12. John F. Hultquist says:

    Places where “large hydro” have been providing power for years decided that to count it as renewable would cause the push toward solar and wind to founder on reality. If being “green” is already achieved there is no need to do anything more.

    An operating principle of most entities is that if any economic incentive is made available then the proposals for getting a fair share will cite the local need. Counting hydro wipes out the need. Therefore, by definition it is not something to be counted.

    • California’s official reason for excluding large hydro from its list of acceptable energy storage technologies was that it would divert funding from more promising technologies, like battery and ice storage.

  13. meliorismnow says:

    Do utilities that have serious duck curve problems have attractive TOU plans and do they sponsor/subsidize EV charging at businesses? That alone should be able to significantly bring up the belly of the duck. Do they have attractive TOU plans for residential customers? That should significantly bring down the head of the duck and raise up the tail.

    As for the seasonal problem, can we break out SC from NC? I’d imagine southern california doesn’t need nearly as much energy in the winter. I’d also imagine that’s where the majority of solar is.

    • meliorismnow says:

      I asked because all I see online are two counterproductive measures in SC (where I presume the duck curve is a real problem):
      1. tiered rates reduce aggregate monthly use (by incentivizing the poor and middle class to use less electricity on a monthly basis) has limited effect on peak days (those who normally have A/C off turn it on). It also means, without TOU, that they are going to wait until the last possible moment to turn on A/C (eg when they get home) which adds to daily peak demand. Under TOU, those with reasonably efficient homes would pre-cool their house while at work when electricity is cheap, without it, this just costs them extra money at a potentially higher bracket. As for those of means, it just incentivizes them to get an expensive and highly inefficient rooftop solar system to offset the top tier, providing electricity at the time its least needed and exacerbating the duck curve and removing control from the utility.

      2. EV charging stations around cities. Unlike chargers at work, these are primarily utilized at peak hours (while dining/socializing or grocery shopping or commuting). These are the ones I think the state and utilities have been promoting! Charging stations at home are also a negative unless you have a TOU plan which incentivizes the customer to program their car to charge at the cheap time. If not, it’s much easier to never program it and just plug in when you get home. If you’re using a 220V charger you’ll likely be topped off before the peak period ends, if 110V you’ll probably be half off peak at least.

      After some digging it appears SCE had a residential EV TOU plan but it was poorly devised and scrapped. Now it has two new residential TOU plans which I’ve yet to assess but they don’t look pretty either.

      • Wookey says:

        TOU tariffs seem almost certain to become a thing soon as lopping that peak on the demand side is clearly something to do if it can be reasonably cheaply, and the best way to do that is expose users to the fact that peak time leccy is expensive. Overnight EV charging is one of the easiest things to move and should be very sensitive to a price signal.

  14. Greg Kaan says:

    Oahu, Hawaii could make an interesting study if more information was available. This 2014 article indicates that they actually experience negative net demand in 2013 due to the penetration of solar PV. Net metering was then discontinued and installations restricted but I cannot find any recent articles on the situation there.


    The NREL data does not appear to be any newer.

    The only recent articles are about battery storage systems but there appears to be no assessment of their efficacy so far.

    • Roger Andrews says:

      Greg: I haven’t been able to find any grid data for Hawaii either. I’m not sure there are any. But it sure would make an interesting study.

      Some utilities in Japan had a similar problem a few years ago. The response was to put a moratorium on future solar developments.

  15. jim brough says:

    About 30% of California’s electricity is imported, generated by means not specified.

    Its a bit like South Australia shutting down coal-fired generation, claiming to lead the way in wind and solar and then relying on the brown coal generation in another faraway state to make up for the failure of its chosen generation technologies to supply reliable electricity supply at a reasonable cost.
    Even after taxpayer-funded subsidies to wind and solar.

  16. Grant says:

    Just catching up with this post and with the benefit of seeing a complete set of responses in a single read through it two things strike me.

    Firstly that the needs of “California” as a single regulatory unit do not match the needs of the land area, North to South, that is know as California. To attempt to keep the entire area as one regulatory territory without adaptation to local variations is madness.

    Secondly the place is, it seems, unsuitable for mass human habitation in terms of future energy regulation as required by the apparent threat of the success of human technology developments.

    In the past, event the relatively recent past, people would move on in such situations.

    Ironically for California a couple of generations ago that is exactly what happened elsewhere in the US and many headed for California at that time.

    One way of reducing demand is to reduce the population making the demands.

    So move the water consuming and high energy consumption industries elsewhere and the people will eventually follow, thus solving the local problem.

    If there is nowhere to which the energy consumption can be successfully shifted …. well, the long term logical solution for pure economics is much the same on a global basis. However humanity’s seemingly inbred sensibilities for creation, survival and destruction may make the obvious options – of the sort that would be applied to a business decision case – morally unacceptable to the main energy using establishment.

    On the other hand we can see some signs that a significant number of humans – enough to be disruptive – can be persuaded that moral sensibilities are something that can be put to one side quite readily. This in the modern age mirrors what seems to have happened many times in known or semi-known history.

    Perhaps, eventually, history will repeat whether we like it or not.

    That well aired phrase “Think of the grandchildren” may well be pertinent if only for a completely different reason. Indeed I sometimes wonder if it ought to be used as a warning to those who wish to control and constrain rather than as their psychological crutch of perceived righteousness.

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