SCE blocks solar power at federal parks

monolaketufaOn the front page of the Los Angeles Times Monday, a story revealed that Southern California Edison has blocked the use of solar power at facilities in Death Valley and Mono Lake.

Edison officials declined to comment on the story that says the national park service and national forests have been negotiating with Edison for at least two years with no agreement to accept solar power into the grid.

The Times reported that a new $800,000 solar project at Death Valley National Park and a solar power system at the U.S. Forest Service’s new facility at Mono Lake are among dozens of “taxpayer-funded projects across California on hold as federal agencies try to hash out an agreement with SCE to tie the projects to the state’s electrical grid.”

Park Service spokesmen said the successfully negotiated deals with PG&E but Edison, they say, has been “a bit more difficult.”  The Times also reported that this impasse has blocked the parks and forest service ability to meet renewable energy goals and to lower power costs.

According to the Times, parks officials at Death Valley hoped to save 70% on power bills at their newly renovated visitors center.  The park’s concessionaire has managed to install a photovoltaic plant which the Times says will generate one-third of the power needed to run the park’s hotels, restaurants, golf course, offices and employee housing.

Officials at Manzanar had problems early on with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power on a contract issue.  SCE is apparently concerned about future liability language.  Meanwhile, the solar panels just sit there

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Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago

The frailty of the grid as described by DWP sounds more like a dodge than a reason. If it’s a problem now, then find a way to fix it because we just can keep burning coal for electricity forever. There is a huge solar thermal plant right at Four Corners.… Read more »

Rob
Rob
10 years ago

They seemed to have worked it out with the BLM. What gives?

Russ Monroe
Russ Monroe
10 years ago

This a classic failure of combining too little knowledge with too much authority. Note that in every case you have a government agency that has made a decision to do something without doing the engineering first. Not a new difficulty. The DW&P addressed this issue very thoroughly at a public… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
10 years ago

It’s just about SCE protecting it’s turf. I doubt that it takes years to agree on language that limits liability. It’s the same old song and dance that the fossil fuel industry — in this case coal for electricity — does whenever renewable green energy threatens inroads on the fossil… Read more »

Mammoth Resident
Mammoth Resident
10 years ago

pretty ridiculous , But I can see how the contract language can be of concern to SCE. It is my understanding that the Government wants to avoid liability on such a project even if they do something wrong. SCE does not want to take the risk.

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
10 years ago

I will only point out that other utilities have managed to agree on language that protects everyone.
Benett Kessler