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Sempra fi: energy independence solutions, my ass

October 22, 2009 - 9:55 am

charts.dllRemember the 2008 election cycle, when Sen. John McCain et al were hammering home the need for energy independence so we could stop buying power from countries that “don’t like us very much,” (i.e. certain terrorism-supporters in the Middle East, certain South American socialist dictatorships)?

Well, how is the US supposed to achieve energy independence when companies like San Diego-based Sempra Energy Solutions continue to apply for permits to export  electricity to Mexico?

According to an application filed with the US Department of Energy and recorded in the Federal Register on Oct. 22,  Sempra is asking for a second extension to a 2003 authorization to export “surplus energy purchased from electric utilities, Federal power marketing agencies and other entities” to Mexico.

Um, how exactly do we have surplus energy?

The electricity will be transmitted using facilities owned by SES subsidiary San Diego Gas & Electric Company, which were initially approved by executive order in 1953 under Pres. Harry Truman’s administration. The initial export authorization was approved in September 2003 and renewed for three years in March 2007. That approval expires next year and this time Sempra is asking for a five-year extension.

In the meantime, Sempra is reporting its stock has hit a high point for the year, as illustrated by the above chart nabbed from the shareholder page of its web site.

Citizens can voice their opposition by filing 15 copies (!!!) of their protests with the Department of Energy by Nov. 23, 2009: Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Mail Code: OE-20, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585-0350.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Anon permalink
    October 22, 2009 - 1:15 pm 1:15 pm

    Boy, you really need some facts checked and some understanding of the North American electricity grid:
    1) surplus energy is almost always available, but capacity has to be available for peak hours and contingencies,
    2) was not aware we considered Mexcio a terrorist nation, 3) the Imperical Valley 230kV interconnection built in what 1990’s, ws approved by Truman in 1953, boy did that guy have insight –
    4) SDGE is not the counterparty selling electricity to Mexico, Sempra marketing affiliates are
    5) CFE (Baja California’s ferderal utllitity is electrically synchronized and connected to the US
    6) Should there be emergency shortages, these exports would be curtailed
    7) Why are you against sales to Mexico to benefit their industry and economy

  2. October 22, 2009 - 3:33 pm 3:33 pm

    Boy, you really need to read more carefully.

    1) The utility is buying extra energy.
    2) We’re not buying electricity from Mexico.
    3) Comes directly from the filing
    4) Again, that’s not what I wrote. Here’s the text: “The energy SES purchases will be delivered to Mexico over transmission facilities owned by San Diego Gas
    and Electric Company (SDG&E)”
    5) So?
    6) Cite your source.
    7) Um, wouldn’t it be better for Mexico’s economy to generate its own electricity?

  3. SoBayStalwart permalink
    October 28, 2009 - 4:00 pm 4:00 pm

    Dave, I don’t quite get you here… You ask “how exactly do we have surplus energy?” Well, we almost always have surplus energy — except during periods of peak demand (like 100 degrees plus temp). Right? And if Sempra wants to sell that surplus energy to Mexico because that supports their business, what’s wrong with that? Sempra benefits. Mexico benefits. The Mexican economy benefits (which benefits the U.S. indirectly). The U.S. benefits (I’d rather have cleaner U.S.-generated power going south versus dirty-generated Mexican power coming north … along with all those nasty emissions…) I’m just not sure you’re on the right track with this one… Welcome your response.

    • October 28, 2009 - 4:59 pm 4:59 pm

      When I say “we” I mean us as a nation, not just San Diego and California. Recently AP reported we’ll need $700 billion in new electricity generation over the next 20 years. So, you’re saying we should keep planning to build new coal plants even though we’ve got a surplus?

  4. robert nail permalink
    November 23, 2009 - 8:38 pm 8:38 pm

    First of all the energy independence McCain was talking about was focused on Petroleum.

    Linking the sale of electricity to Mexico to the dependence on foreign oil is a specious argument. Electricity can be generated by Petroleum, but very very little electricity is generated by Petroleum in the US. Once generated, electricity cannot be stored and needs to be used. Which is why there is often surplus energy available. Are you saying the Sempra should be storing electricity in giant batteries that are shipped to Kansas? Not possible.

    As alluded to previously – you need to learn something here about how the US power grid works before you charge at windmills.

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