CO: Summit gets line on state power needs : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

March 29, 2001
Colorado has enough electric power to keep lights
on and air conditioners running this summer, but
the state is only a downed mainline or broken
turbine away from California-style blackouts,
energy officials warned Wednesday at a hastily
called summit with Gov. Bill Owens.

Denver Post

-- spider (, March 29, 2001


spider, interesting article. I'm going to post a few additional key quotes for readers who don't click on your hotlink:


...A well-lit summer even depends on construction workers finishing Colorado plants by June and July deadlines to bring the reserve cushion above levels that proved inadequate in the hot summer of 1998, when rolling blackouts hit the state.

"It's pretty tight. But we should be OK as long as we don't have power plants that go down," said Bill McEwan, a leader of the Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities, even as he added that Colorado Springs has ordered backup diesel generators as a summer insurance policy... ...if a major plant or two were to go down for repair as they did in 1998, "it could bring us to a point similar to California," Owens said...

...Avoiding a California crisis will require timely completion of the thousands of megawatts of generating capacity now in the permitting and construction process, said energy consultant Chris Seiple, who walked officials through the state of the Colorado power grid...

...Power officials said furnaces and turbines are not the only critical need. The state already faces transmission bottlenecks that make it hard to import, export or even transfer electricity within the state.


Despite the attempts at spin, the caveats are multiple and blunt. "We'll be fine unless bad stuff happens -- but hey, bad stuff never happens." Note they're not talking about *unusual* bad stuff, like the landing of alien spaceships or a nuclear war! The kinds of things Colorado must avoid are exactly what WILL happen, because they always happens: delays in finishing large construction projects (didn't this board have an article on insufficient turbine supply nationally); "unplanned maintenance," whether from software glitches or hardware that has been run into the ground without adequate routine work or just plain old age; solar storms; tree falls and takes out a key transmission line; the list goes on and on.

One other observation: why was the meeting "hastily called"? Is that just because of the rate hike announcement from California, or is there some other reason? I'm not implying anything in particular, just wondering about that curious phrase.

Colorado is of course not alone. Nor is this limited to the western U.S. We're all riding the edge of the razor.

This summer is going to be interesting indeed. Got preps?

-- Andre Weltman (, March 29, 2001.

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