- California Jerry Brown declared a state of drought emergency in January 2014 and conditions are worsening. As of September 30, 58% of the state was in the most severe “exceptional drought” category.
- Due to the lack of rainfall, hydropower fell to 10% of California’s in-state electricity generation in the first half of 2014 after having supplied an average of 20% of the in-state power in the first half of every year between 2004 and 2013. In every month of 2014, hydropower generation was “well below” the range established for that month over the last 10 years, according to the Energy Information Agency.
- Despite the drought, which began in 2011, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the state’s grid operator, forecasts sufficient generation to meet demand, including peak demand, due to recent capacity increases in renewables and natural gas generation.
Because natural gas generation has historically been used to make up for diminished hydropower generation, there is an inverse statistical correlation between their average levels from 2004 to 2013.
Wind and solar generation are also an increasingly important part of California's generation mix, with yearly record capacity additions and record generation levels in 2014.
California’s 1H 2014 natural gas generation was 3% higher than in 1H 2013 and 16% higher than the 2004 to 2013 January to June average. In February of 2014, wind generation for the first time exceeded hydro generation, and then did so again the following month.
Much of the EIA data came from CAISO’s Summer Loads & Resource Assessment.