Light Snowfall Depletes Reservoirs, Pushes California from Hydro to Gas
With a record-low snowfall reducing water levels in its hydroelectric reservoirs, California will have to burn more fossil fuels this year and import power to make up the shortfall.
“Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada stands at 12% of average,” FuelFix reports. “Energy officials say that means less melting snow throughout the year to run the turbines at dams.”
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One recent snow survey near Echo Summit, CA “showed the snow pack to be 0.9 inches deep with a water content of 6.9 inches, which is 5% of normal for this site at this time of year.”
A Pacific Institute study found the state’s ratepayers have already paid US$1.4 billion more in utility costs, while the added reliance on natural gas plants has increased greenhouse gas emissions by 8%.