New power plants will help keep lights on 

A power-plant building spree undertaken amid widespread economic woes will help keep the lights on this summer.

By June, 1,760 new megawatts of electricity generating capacity is expected to have been added for Californians over a one-year period, announced the California Independent System Operator, which oversees the grid.

That’s enough electricity to power nearly 2 million homes.

Less than 5 percent of the new generating capacity is from renewable sources, ISO figures show.

“The chance for rotating power outages (this summer) is less than one percent,” ISO officials wrote in a statement. “As always, conditions can change quickly due to high air conditioning use during summer heat waves or wildfires near high-voltage lines affecting the flow of electricity.”

The peak demand expected this summer is 47 gigawatts, which is higher than last summer’s peak of 46 gigawatts but below the 2006 peak demand of 50 gigawatts, ISO figures show.

The difference between this summer’s peak demand and the record that was set in 2006 was attributed by the ISO officials to “the recession, which continues to dampen California’s appetite for electricity.”

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