It has been a week where blogging had to fall off the priority list of things to do. However, I did want to follow up on the “Costs of Conservative Action” post from 18 October 2005 to report that Palo Verde did, indeed get back up to full power by the end of the day on 22 October 2005, ten days after it was ordered to shut down.
The cost of the shutdown was spread among six owners and was primarily a lost opportunity cost that will get absorbed in the fuel cost accounting done by each of the utilities. However, that fact should not diminish the disturbing nature of the event. With apparently little cause other than a disagreement about a 30 year old complex calculation based on many very conservative assumptions in the first place, two generators each with a normal daily production of almost 32,000 MW-hours of electricity were ordered to be shut down for approximately 10 full days.
That order cost something close to $60 MILLION dollars and did nothing to improve public safety. There HAS to be a better way to balance cost and protection – that amount of money could provide a year’s worth of employment at a comfortable income to 600 people; it could build two modern high schools; it could save thousands of lives if used for food aid; it could build 60 miles worth of transmission lines, or it could pay for a couple of good fastball pitchers for a struggling franchise.