WHY DIDNT CALIFORNIA BUILD A SUFFICIENT ELECTRICAL SUPPLY?
Now we must ask why California’s electrical utilities apparently have not been constructing generating capacity to keep up with growth of demand for electrical energy in California. Certainly, the high cost of purchasing new electric generators is a factor. So, let’s look at some ballpark cost figures for building new electric generators. THE COST OF NEW ELECTRIC GENERATORS The purchase price of electric generators is something like $1 a watt. Coal plants may cost more, nuclear plants cost much more, while natural gas turbines cost perhaps half of this. Let’s use $1 a watt as the basis for some very simple calculations. As a rule of thumb, the utilities report that they need about 1000 watts of generating capacity for one new person. This means that for every person that moves into the service area of an electric utility, the utility must spend about $1000 in capital costs for the purchase of new electric generators. (This is not for fuel and other operating costs, nor does it include