What’s Current? Issue #38 – How Much Water Will $30 Billion Buy?

So far this year I had the privilege of attending two water oriented events. The first, in February, was at the annual CalDesal conference in Sacramento. The second, in March, was at the Kern County Water Summit in Bakersfield. I sensed there is a growing recognition among the participants in both of these events that […]

What’s Current? Issue #37 – Sacramento’s War on Water and Energy

After the deluges of 2022-23, and the rainfall season so far this year delivering an above normal snowpack and above normal rain, the drought in California is over. Even the situation on the dry Colorado is much improved, with Lake Powell and Lake Mead collectively at 42 percent of capacity, up from only 32 percent of capacity at […]

What’s Current? Issue #36 – The Cost of Offshore Wind vs of Carbon Sequestration

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has set planning goals for floating offshore wind turbines, calling for between 2 and 5 gigawatts of “nameplate capacity” operating by 2030, and 25 gigawatts by 2045. Note “floating.” Unlike off the East Coast, or the North Sea, deep waters in California lie immediately offshore. So offshore wind in California […]

What’s Current? Issue #35 – The Potential of Carbon Sequestration

While the confirmed skeptic will consider Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) to be the ultimate waste of money, it nonetheless is happening. Billions of dollars have already been committed, with no end in sight. Regardless of how one might judge its necessity, having some facts about CCS belongs in any serious discussion about California’s energy […]

What’s Current? Issue #34 – California’s Dubious Megaprojects

It would be inaccurate to suggest that California’s state legislature can no longer think big. They can, and as such they are carrying on a tradition that two generations ago gave us the best universities in the world, expressways and freeways that helped catalyze a boom that lasted for decades, and the most remarkable system […]

What’s Current? Issue #33 – Harvesting Urban Storm Runoff

In a normal year, by the end of March downtown Los Angeles receives 13 inches of rain. Last year 27.8 inches fell, and through March 3 of this year, 21.3 inches has already fallen. This suggests that both this year and last year, over 1.0 million acre feet of rainfall hit the region. Even in […]

What’s Current? Issue #32 – How to Deliver Affordable Energy Again in California

Californians pay some of the highest prices for energy in the United States. Gasoline last year averaged $4.89 per gallon, and diesel fuel $5.07 per gallon, both the highest in the country. Electricity rates had California 45th in the nation in 2023 at $0.27 per kilowatt-hour, the worst of every major state with the sole exception of Massachusetts, which […]

What’s Current? Issue #31 – The Potential of Rooftop Solar

California’s central planners are determined to stay ahead of the entire world when it comes to renewable energy and achieving “net zero.” It is an expensive and intrusive experiment, and we’re the lab rats. But that doesn’t mean every renewables innovation is bad. And for the hardened skeptics, we can put it another way: At […]

What’s Current? Issue #30 – The Opportunity Cost of the Delta Tunnels

Last week in Sacramento at Cal Desal’s annual conference, one of the highlights was an appearance by Wade Crowfoot, California’s Natural Resources Secretary. In his remarks, and in answer to questions from the audience, Crowfoot sought to create the impression the Newsom administration is supporting desalination projects. “The last thing we want to do is put […]

What’s Current? Issue #29 – Hardly Harvesting the Deluge

A historic barrage of atmospheric rivers hit California. Across the Sierra Nevada and down through the foothills into the valley, rivers turned into raging torrents, overflowing their banks and flooding entire communities. California’s Central Valley turned into an inland sea, as low lying farms and grasslands were incapable of draining the deluge. That was 1861, […]