The Buzz

28 Apr 2017

More batteries and other energy storage technologies are not at the top of the California Public Utilities Commission’s list.  In a ruling on CA’s energy storage mandate, initially set at 1,325 MW by 2020 and then boosted by another 500 MW last year, a CPUC decision focuses on reaching only the initial goal. The private utilities are more than 800 MW short of the 1,325 MW target. San Diego Gas & Electric is closest to its 2020 mandate while Pacific Gas & Electric is farthest away.

At the state capitol, a new energy storage subsidy program gets both a thumbs up and a thumbs down.  The Senate energy committee passed a measure to create a California Solar Initiative-like storage fund, while the energy committee in the Assembly balked at a similar bill.

Also in focus this week were microgrids.  Staff from three state energy agencies continue to try to spark macro private investment in renewable driven, independent power structures that can keep electricity flowing during blackouts.

Independent generators claim running some of their gas-fired plants is so unprofitable that they’ll have to shut them down. For them, multi-year resource adequacy deals are the answer.  But a looming question, JUICE finds, is which plants can be closed without destabilizing the grid.

Widely unpopular in California’s neighboring state is federal legislation to restore plans to build a long-term radioactive waste dump at Yucca Mountain.  The Silver State’s politicians are united on killing the measure, which was debated in the House energy committee this week. It would take the unprecedented step of declaring the dump a “beneficial use” of water, thus removing Nevada’s rights over its limited supply of H20.  Why supposedly pro states’ rights Republicans support it is a big cause of concern for a Republican senator from Nevada and of fellow lawmakers.

PG&E’s failure to safely manage its power lines in Butte County and then its silence about it for a few days resulted in an $8 million fine from the CPUC’s Safety Division.

—The Editors

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