Valley News -

California's renewable energy plan discussed last issue


Last updated 8/15/2019 at 2:40pm

Proponents of the proposed LEAPS project said that it will help with the need for energy storage in our communities. The opinion article, “Why California Needs Energy Storage,” from Aug. 2, stated, “ . . . ensuring that renewable energy can be consumed on cloudy, windless days and at night.” 

This statement has several confusing parts to it. First, Southern California, particularly in the Inland Empire, has few cloudy, windless days. Solar panels work very well on cloudy days, except if it’s a full-on rainy day; of course, but then there is wind to produce energy and the grid to deliver.

The premise that LEAPS could be pumping during low-use periods is a bit problematic since peak energy use is from 4-9 p.m., according to most utilities. So pumping using “cheap energy,” which is hard to find, would have to be done in the daytime to store for this time period. Then pumping could resume in the overnight hours. It’s not so simple as in the old days.

A better solution to energy production and storage would be to make sure all homes and businesses are fitted with solar panels and battery storage. Energy produced at the “source of use” is the most efficient scenario to strive for. 

Community Choice Aggregates/Energy programs are another great way to balance the energy distributed. San Diego and parts of the Inland Empire including Lake Elsinore are being smart and going this route. 

There’s no need for LEAPS, in view of its problematic pumping and fuel use. But more importantly, the damage to the forest habitat, the increase in wildfire possibilities and degradation of quality of life for homeowners around the lake are major problems. The lake itself will suffer, putting the most significant economic resource the city of Lake Elsinore at risk.

The recent reminder of earthquake risks was made apparent to residents because of the Ridgecrest shakers. Lake Elsinore exists because of the great fault lying along the base of the mountain range. It constitutes a major risk to the city and its inhabitants.

Let’s move into the 21st century by making our own energy where it is used. We cannot afford to step back into the past, using what the author of the Valley News piece described as, “... an older, tried and true “natural battery” that LEAPS embodies. With the help of a CCA, it all can be balanced efficiently. Moreover, it can do so in a way that will not jeopardize a natural resource that provides important aesthetic, environmental and economic benefits to our region. 

Pam Nelson

Chair of The Sierra Club, Santa Margarita Group


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