Archive by Author

FERC Spotlights Uplift Payments & Pipeline Project Review

19 Apr

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission April 19 unanimously approved rules to increase transparency on above market payments grid operators make to resources needed for reliability and to speed up interconnection agreements for generating resources 20 MW and larger. The regulators also launched a review of the agency’s 1999 intrastate gas pipeline project certification process. “Uplift […]

FERC Kills CAISO’s Protection of Designated Gas Plants

18 Apr

The California Independent System Operator’s proposal to increase payments to gas power plants deemed needed for reliability, but lacking supply cushion contracts, was rejected by federal energy regulators. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that the California grid operator’s proposed capacity procurement mechanism tariff was “unjust and unreasonable.” FERC found that because the grid operator’s […]

Utility Wildfire Cost Recovery Bill Blasted for Overreach

18 Apr

Private utility wildfire liability is a huge concern at the state capitol. During an April 17 hearing, legislators grappled with how to protect utilities from overwhelming liability in the face of impacts to ratepayers, third-party distributed energy and the growing number of people living near the risky wildland-urban interface. “We here in the Senate know […]

Bills Pass on Diablo Closure Funds, EV Chargers & Biomethane

18 Apr

After debating sticky measures to change fire liability parameters for utilities, the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee approved less controversial measures. That includes ones to restore community and employee mitigation funds linked to the Diablo nuclear plant closure and to increase accessibility of public electric vehicle chargers. SB 1090 by Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) […]

Shorts

17 Apr

Energy Secretary Rick Perry this week announced almost $150 million in Department of Energy funding for renewable energy technologies. “American ingenuity is the engine of our energy economy,” said Perry. “Investing in all of our abundant energy sources, including solar technologies, will help to drive down costs and ensure that the nation leads the world […]

Bills to Electrify Homes, Increase Utility Safety Violations Advance

3 Apr

Gaining ground this week were bills to electrify home water and space heating, mandate that private utilities report potential safety violations, and allow select munis to continue operating young gas-fired power plants they’re paying off. Over objections April 3, the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee approved SB 1477 by Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park). […]

PG&E Proposes Small Rate Cut, But Bigger Costs Elsewhere

2 Apr

Pacific Gas & Electric March 30 asked the California Public Utilities Commission to shave millions of dollars from its revenues this year under three separate rate cases, including two that were previously approved, to account for the financial benefit it’s reaping from the 2017 federal tax act. Overall, the utility expects a tax benefit under […]

PG&E Moves to Get Wildfire Lawsuits Dismissed

29 Mar

Pacific Gas & Electric wants a state court to dismiss wildfire liability lawsuits against it on the basis that it cannot, as claimed, spread out the massive cost of last October’s fires in Northern California to all of its ratepayers. In lawsuits filed last year, plaintiffs argue that PG&E is on the hook for damage […]

Moorpark-Pardee Transmission Project Okayed Despite Doubts

27 Mar

A transmission line upgrade to serve the constrained Moorpark area came under fire just before it was approved by the grid operator as part of its 2017-18 transmission plan. Critics expressed doubts over whether the new line actually would improve reliability in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. NRG Market Affairs Director Brian Theaker said the […]

JUICE: State Bills Focus on Changing Energy Landscape

27 Mar

Key legislation would deal with how and when private utilities can recover from ratepayers the cost of wildfires, prohibit state energy regulators from halting natural gas hookups and safeguard select gas-fired power plants. But, the talk of the town is the revised measure to allow California’s grid operator to expand. Closed door negotiations are ongoing […]

Shorts

27 Mar

The electricity system in the western U.S. is leading on energy efficiency, saving 8,655 GWh in 2016, according to a recent report by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency. The next biggest regional savings due to efficiency programs occurred in the Midwest where 6,977 GWh were saved in 2016. The Midwest, however, beat the West when […]

FERC Pact Slashes Tab for Calpine Reliability Deals

26 Mar

The cost of the controversial reliability must run contracts the grid operator signed with Calpine last year was substantially cut under a settlement approved by federal energy regulators. Calpine’s annual revenue cost for its 605 MW Metcalf plant in San Jose was reduced from a proposed $72.46 million to $43 million under an agreement between […]

PG&E Balking at BioEnergy Order Riles Regulators

22 Mar

Two state energy regulators took Pacific Gas & Electric to task for stating it would not comply with the California Public Utilities Commission’s resolution directing it to contract with biomass projects fueled by dead and dying trees. “It is not up to PG&E to decide whether it will or won’t comply with our order,” Commissioner […]

Western ISO Bill Nixes Capacity Market, Bolsters CEC Authority

20 Mar

Changes to legislation to allow California’s grid operator to transform into a western balancing authority give the California Energy Commission the power to decide whether a proposed governance proposal passes muster. The latest iteration of AB 813 by Assembly Utilities & Energy Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) also would prohibit creating a centralized capacity market. Assemblymember […]

Undercurrents

20 Mar

As the state faces up to the loss of power that closing Pacific Gas & Electric’s 2,200 MW Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant will create come the middle of the next decade, the California Energy Commission is eyeing areas offshore of the plant as potential candidates for placing wind power facilities. During a March 12 […]

Shorts

20 Mar

California’s grid experienced an ancillary services shortage from March 9-11. The California Independent System Operator reported that on March 20, noting it triggered scarcity pricing in several intervals of the 15 minute market. The maximum shortage amounted to 5.36 MW around 2 p.m. on March 11. Several other smaller shortages also occurred over the three-day […]

Bill Backfills Diablo Nuke Employee Incentives & San Luis Obispo Revenue

19 Mar

Legislation would restore $215 million for employee retention and community mitigation cut by state regulators from a proposed agreement on the closure of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Sen. Bill Monning (R-Carmel) March 16 followed through on his pledge to fully reinstate ratepayer funding for those proposed terms for shutting down the […]

The Buzz

16 Mar

Trump’s federal regulators may make western grid regionalization a rough ride for California while it continues working to cut its greenhouse gases, legislators are warned. The next day, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission signals just that. A FERC majority largely ignores the Obama-era’s incorporation of  the social cost of carbon, saying it’s not a useful […]

Low Carbon Transportation Cuts Rile Clean Vehicle Advocates

15 Mar

The governor’s proposed $435 million budget for the California Air Resources Board’s low carbon transportation program was criticized for reducing funding for low and zero emissions heavy-duty trucks and for lacking parity of funding between electric and hydrogen powered vehicles. The proposed 2018-19 budget is below the current budget of $560 million. “We are on […]

Shorts

15 Mar

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said this week California cannot be the tail that wags the dog when it comes to the future of federal greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards for autos. His remarks came as the EPA is reviewing Obama-era federal emissions standards that mirror California’s for the period of 2022 […]