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The Buzz

14 Dec 2017


Who will become the western grid operator: CAISO, Southwest Power Pool, or the new ISO elf?

State energy regulators tighten utility fire safety rules because of the “astounding” problem of wildfires, Mike Picker, CPUC president, says. During the same Dec. 14 meeting, the commission approves $100 million in annual subsidies to promote solar system installations on apartments.

Earlier in the last meeting of 2017, the commission postpones voting on the controversial decision cutting Pacific Gas & Electric’s proposed funding for the closure of its Diablo Canyon nuke...

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Opinionated: The Diablo Energy Efficiency Opportunity

12 Dec 2017


Editor's Note: The California Public Utilities Commission was set to vote Dec. 14 on the decision to reduce funding for Pacific Gas & Electric to close its Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant from $1.76 billion to $172 million. However,  the commission announced at the start of the Thursday business meeting that a vote on the proposed closure terms for the 2,240 MW plant will be held until Jan. 11.

By Mark Shahinian

“Doubling” energy efficiency in existing buildings as required by Senate Bill 350 means utilities, and the California Public Utilities Commission, must radically accelerate development of next-generation efficiency programs...

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The Buzz

8 Dec 2017


Energy agency heads insist Los Angeles County should freeze natural gas hookups for new homes and businesses because of possible fuel shortages this winter. Builders vigorously object that it will worsen the area’s housing crimp. The CPUC president blasts the messenger.

Pacific Gas & Electric proposes replacing Dynegy’s 40-year old Oakland power plant with local alternative power supplies...

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Proposed Gas Hookup Moratorium for LA Draws Opposition

7 Dec 2017


State energy agencies are pressing Los Angeles County to freeze gas hookups for newly constructed homes and businesses in the face of feared “gas service interruptions” this winter. Three natural gas pipelines are out of service and the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field’s has limited capacity to inject gas into the local pipeline system.

“Los Angeles County has made it clear that it does not support the continued operation of Aliso Canyon,” wrote the heads of the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Energy Commission to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Dec...

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The Buzz

30 Nov 2017


State energy regulators are united in their opposition to saddling San Diego Gas & Electric ratepayers with nearly $400 million in costs incurred for three big fires in 2007 ignited by SDG&E lines. Two members of the California Public Utilities Commission, however, have reservations given multiple contributions to the big fires that led to deaths, huge amounts of scorched earth and destroyed homes...

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Juice: Blowin in the Dry Wind

28 Nov 2017


Four years ago, San Diego Gas & Electric power lines sparked wildfires that burned some 200,000 acres in San Diego County. The fires, which began in the eastern area of the county, were quickly blown westward by severe Santa Ana winds. They wound up destroying 2,500 homes and structures as they burned through the dry chaparral landscape. By the time they were extinguished, seven people had died and almost a half million people had to be evacuated...

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Negawatt Providers Seek a Mandate

21 Nov 2017


California regulators and policymakers say they want to see increases in demand response to reduce peak load and help balance out intermittent renewable resources. Despite the lip service, the amount of negawatt capacity reaped from the residential and commercial/industrial sectors has fallen since 2011, particularly from third-party aggregators working with the investor-owned utilities.

“There is a downward trajectory, except in the area of utility baseload interruptibles,” said Mona Tierney-Lloyd, EnerNoc’s senior director of western regulatory affairs...

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The Buzz

17 Nov 2017


The Riverside County Board of Supervisors is jumping on the community choice bandwagon. This week its supervisors voted to seek the green light from the California Public Utilities Commission in spite of concerns about exit fees.

As community choice aggregation programs expand and mature in Southern and Northern California, renewable power projects being built to serve choice customers are swelling...

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Opinionated: Plan to Power Through Weather-Related Outages

14 Nov 2017


By Kevin Stenson

Weather has impacted California significantly this past year, particularly wildfires fed by heavy winds. Like any major weather event, there are things that went well and things that can be improved.

With California being the most populated state in the nation and the state’s energy demand being the second highest, it’s important for utilities to plan ahead for weather conditions...

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The Buzz

9 Nov 2017


This week, energy regulators signed off on utility bill protections for victims of the Northern California wildfires, as called for by a consumer advocate.  At the same time, the California Public Utilities Commission put off voting whether to deny San Diego Gas & Electric nearly $400 million in fire-related expenses from three large fires in San Diego a decade ago.  Looming in the background is a litigation threat by SDG&E...

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CPUC Delays SDG&E Fire Cost Recovery Decision

9 Nov 2017


California energy regulators again deferred voting on a decision rejecting San Diego Gas & Electric’s request to recover $379 million in costs and legal fees incurred from three extensive wildfires in San Diego in 2007.

The pending ruling denies the money because SDG&E “did not reasonably manage and operate its facilities prior to the 2007 Southern California Wildfires,” states the proposal by California Public Utilities Commission Administrative Law Judges S...

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The Buzz

3 Nov 2017


The former California Public Utilities Commission president is taking a power walk down memory lane.  During a Wednesday talk, Mike Peevey summarized his new book coauthored with Diane Wittenberg detailing how Southern California’s smoggy skies launched the movement to green the state and Peevey’s role.

The current CPUC president and commissioners attempt to see through the changing utility business model fog...

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Peevey’s Walk Down Memory Lane

2 Nov 2017


A retrospective of the Golden State’s decades-long trail blazing effort to protect the climate by slashing air pollution and curbing sprawl was presented by California’s former head energy regulator mid-week.

If California were a nation, it would rank as the 6th largest economy in the world, but yet it produces just 1 percent of global greenhouse gases.

“Those numbers tell you a story,” Mike Peevey, former California Public Utilities Commission president, said at a Power Association of Northern California luncheon held  Nov...

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The Buzz

27 Oct 2017


While the question of whether or not to regionalize the grid is center stage, the buzz in the wings is increasingly about alternative approaches to creating a more robust western trading market.

Juice critiques options for how a western grid could be won. That includes comparing and contrasting a western expansion of the Southwest Power Pool into wind rich states versus CAISO growing east.

State energy regulators decided against ditching utility demand response pilot auctions although early test runs are far from impressive...

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CA Coalition Protests Proposed Coal & Nuke Subsidies

25 Oct 2017


Usually non-aligned California private and public utility, wind energy and merchant generator representatives are aligned in their opposition to Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposed rule to subsidize coal and nuclear power.

The group of California power industry stakeholders urge federal regulators to reject Perry’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on grounds that it’s a proposed solution in search of a problem...

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The Buzz

20 Oct 2017


Greening the grid is the talk of the town.

At the CAISO’s annual confab held this week, most bets are that a westward grid expansion will happen. Why? Because proponents insist it will promote renewables, which will decarbonize both the grid and economy, near and far.

Achieving that goal, however, requires paying new alternative resources for grid services that now are uncompensated. This bucks to the duck strategy seeks to balance out the newly appreciated renewable abundance with its scarcity...

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OPINIONATED: Binary Geothermal Gives PV a Run for Its Money

17 Oct 2017


By Paul Thomsen

In 2017, for the first time, the combined energy and capacity values of geothermal energy significantly exceeded the value of solar photovoltaic resources in California.

In the first quarter of 2017, geothermal’s wholesale energy value in Southern California was $13.50/MWh greater than solar PV. At the same time, utility estimates of marginal solar PV capacity ratings for the 2018 Resource Adequacy compliance period were between nearly 0 percent and 20 percent, resulting in a capacity value difference of up to $18...

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The Buzz

13 Oct 2017


Utility regulators approved $30 million for energy storage facility subsidies in disadvantaged communities, mostly for institutional systems.

The California Public Utilities Commission’s former chief administrative law judge is preparing to sue the agency in court on claims of a retaliatory firing after blowing the whistle on alleged collusion by the commission staff with Pacific Gas & Electric...

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Retalitory Firing Claim by CPUC Head Judge Heads to Court

12 Oct 2017


The State Personnel Board rejected a whistleblower complaint filed by the California Public Utilities Commission’s former head administrative law judge last month.

The Personnel Board’s rejection “is good news,” Daniel Siegel, attorney for Karen Clopton, former CPUC chief administrative law judge, told Current Oct. 11.  It opens the door to file a whistleblower suit in the Superior Court...

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The Buzz

5 Oct 2017


A top legislative staffer gives an insider’s look at the fallout from the governor’s ill-fated effort to push through a bill to create an integrated western grid in the waning days of the legislative session.

Electric transportation advocates flock to a meeting this week on the California Air Resources Board’s plan to give away $1.5 billion in incentives.

Juice examines the woes of independent generators...

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