Nevada state bill seeks to avert possible jet fuel shortages

Nevada legislators have introduced a bill to spend $10 million on backup generation for a pipeline that transports jet fuel to Nevada from California and which is subject to electricity interruptions. The generators would provide emergency power to the pumps that push fuel into Nevada. The 1 Mw generators would be powered with jet fuel from the pipeline. A Kinder Morgan Inc. pipeline that transports these fuel products to Nevada had its power cut off for several consecutive days in January.


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Mar. 13�Nevada legislators have introduced a bill to spend $10 million on backup generation for a pipeline that transports jet fuel to Nevada from California and which is subject to electricity interruptions.

The generators would provide emergency power to the pumps that push fuel into Nevada. The 1 Mw generators would be powered with jet fuel from the pipeline.

A Kinder Morgan Inc. pipeline that transports these fuel products to Nevada from California had its power cut off for several consecutive days in January. The power interruption caused pumping stations to shut down and the pipeline to stop functioning. The Las Vegas airport was down to only a few hours supply of jet fuel before power was restored, and the fuel started flowing into Nevada.

Nervous Nevada legislators are worried the situation will deteriorate again this summer in California with lengthier outages because of the huge demand for air conditioning. Other than trucking in the fuel, the pipeline that transports it from southern California refineries is the only source for jet fuel to southern Nevada, including the Las Vegas airport.

The pipeline has been on an interruptible tariff which allows the California Independent System Operator (ISO) to call for utilities to cut off its electricity during power emergencies to keep the grid from collapsing. Pipelines are also subject to involuntary rolling blackouts should the ISO call for such measures.

Most experts, including the ISO, expect this summer to be even worse than this past winter. Many are predicting rolling blackouts.

Whether the Kinder Morgan pipeline will remain on an interruptible electricity tariff this summer isn't clear. California state agencies are revamping the interruptible and demand management programs. But the state recognizes that without the availability of interruptible loads, blackouts are almost a certainty. Companies that want out of the program may not be able to withdraw.

In recognition of the worsening situation in California, Nevada legislators introduced SB 309 Mar. 9. The bill, if passed, will provide for emergency generators to be placed along the pipeline route between Southern California and Las Vegas.

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