If the blowup over President Trump’s new solar tariff proves anything, it proves that the renewable energy transition is inevitable. A new hydroelectricity project for the City of San Diego, California is a case in point. The city recently raised the level of an existing hydropower dam to hold more water, and now it is considering a massive new energy storage element that would help the grid support more wind and solar power.
Archive for date: January 29th, 2018
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Yosemite’s Half Dome saw a picturesque dusting of snow this past week while skiers in Tahoe welcomed a shot of fresh powder. Yet California’s Sierra Nevada is plunging deeper into a warm, dry winter that shows little sign of a turnaround. Mile-high mountainsides were low on snow Monday and alpine skies remained a stubborn summer blue. The forecast called for above-average temperatures and virtually no precipitation through at least the first 10 days of February — the third and final month of the state’s peak wet season.
Helix Water District customers like the service they’re getting, are mindful of water conservation, believe the water they get is a good value for what they pay, and like the taste of the water they’re drinking from their taps. East County customers also like Lake Jennings and The Water Conservation Garden, according to Probe Research, Inc., a company that was paid $21,700 to conduct a customer survey for Helix.
During his second governorship, Jerry Brown has frequently touted big public-works projects as the mark of a great society—a marked change from his first stint four decades ago, when “small is beautiful” and “lower your expectations” were his oft-voiced themes. He did it again last week, effusively plugging two major public works, twin water tunnels and a high-speed rail network, during his final State of the State address.
State Water Project contractors got a slight uptick Monday in the amount of water they will be getting this year. The Department of Water Resources increased the allocation from the 15 percent announced in December to 20 percent of the amount of water requested. The allocations always start low, and usually rise as the rainy season continues and calculations of the water supply firm up.
Amajor U.S. beer manufacturer’s decision to build a giant production plant in Baja California’s desert capital has been cause for much celebration in Gov. Francisco Vega de Lamadrid’s administration. But not everybody is applauding. Constellation Brands, maker of Modelo and Corona beers, finds itself in the crossfire of a bitter dispute. On one side are government officials who are vowing to see the project through; on the other, opponents determined to shut it down, saying the plant will use a large amount of water that should go to local farmers.
The storms have passed and California’s dry winter has returned, raising the specter that the state could be entering another drought less than a year after the last one officially ended. After a brief spell of rain and snow improved California’s water conditions last week, the National Weather Service said Monday it’s forecasting at least two weeks of dry weather. A strong high-pressure ridge has settled over the Pacific Ocean. The ridge will block any storms from reaching the state, and “is going to stick around for a while,” said Michelle Mead, a weather service meteorologist in Sacramento.
Last week, state regulators released their initial findings for potential dam and reservoir projects that could receive funds from Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond passed by voters in 2014 in response to California’s record drought. The bond was approved with the promise of at least $2.7 billion for increased water storage but based on what was released last week, none of the projects that applied met the criteria for this money. Water agencies were alarmed when the results were released and many were caught off guard.
That’s a year’s supply for two million households. MWD’s report says most of the water savings were accomplished through using less outdoors, as drought-tolerant landscaping replaced turf lawns, and smart timers controlled sprinklers to not overwater. Our low-flow toilets and super-efficient washing machines saved water indoors. The agency spent about $45 million in 2017 on rebates, education programs and ads to encourage conservation.
This Thursday, a crew from the California Department of Water Resources will drive up to a meadow above Lake Tahoe to measure how much snow is there. Media will be on hand to record the ritual, staged once a month between early January and May. The assembled reporters and camera-people will hear DWR’s official pronouncement on the State of the Snowpack — the snowpack and the moisture it contains being a key indicator of what kind of statewide water situation we’re looking at in coming months.