San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

By Abby Sewell
May 6, 2013, 1:27 p.m.

Energy officials expect to get through another summer without blackouts even if the San Onofre nuclear plant remains shuttered — but damaging fires in the months ahead could undermine that prediction.

An assessment released Monday by the California Independent System Operator, which oversees most of the state’s power grid, projected that power supply will be slightly tighter this summer than last in Southern California.

That is largely because two retired units at a gas-fired plant in Huntington Beach that were brought online last summer to help replace the power generated by San Onofre will not be available this summer.

Instead, the units are being converted to “synchronous condensers,” which provide voltage support to facilitate importing more power from outside the region. That project is expected to be online by the end of June.

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