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The Buzz

15 Sep

A quick gut and amend revived grid regionalization legislation that caused a mad scramble among legislators, lobbyists and wide array of interest groups. Then mid-week, Assemblymember Chris Holden, the author of the six day-old legislation, slammed on the brakes. Less hectic and more successful was the advance of a budget trailer bill divvying up $1.6 […]

CEC Backs Innovative Energy Projects

14 Sep

A biomass project to reduce wildfire threats by turning dead and dying trees in Shasta County into electricity won a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission Sept. 13. CEC awarded the ratepayer-funded Electric Program Investment Charge program money to the Fall River Resource Conservation District for a 2.8 MW biomass facility in the […]

Grid Regionalization Revival Delayed

13 Sep

(Updated on Sept. 13.) Legislation was amended to formally expand the California Independent System Operator into a western-wide grid manager at the end of last week. However, AB 726 and AB 813 by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), were turned into two year bills mid-week. “After several months of questions and reviews of the ISO studies, including […]

Panel Witnesses Back Carbon Capture Subsidies

13 Sep

Carbon capture and sequestration, including for coal generating plants, continues to face financial and other challenges, according to witnesses at a Sept. 13 U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee hearing. “There is a gap between project costs and market prices and tariffs that prevent private capital from flowing into projects,” said Julio Freidman, chief […]

JUICE: PURPA’s CA Purpose

13 Sep

Congress may gut the federal law requiring utilities to buy power from qualifying solar, wind and other alternative energy projects. Is that a big deal for California? Not really—if looking through a California-only lens. When viewing the issue from a Western perspective, however, significantly weakening or eliminating the must buy provisions of the federal Public […]

Private Utilities Report 3,100 MW of Qualifying Facilities

13 Sep

The 40-year old federal law mandating that private utilities buy power from independent producers, which was once center stage, is back stage in California today. That’s largely because of the state’s renewables mandate and improved interconnection. Today, investor-owned utilities continue to purchase power from independent small renewable and cogeneration projects under state regulatory programs established […]

Undercurrents: CA Sues Feds for Halting Penalty Increase for Fuel Efficiency Violations

12 Sep

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed suit against the Trump Administration Sept. 11 for delaying a rule increasing the fine on car manufacturers that fail to meet federal fuel efficiency standards. “More fuel-efficient cars on our roads means cleaner air, better overall health for our children, and savings at the pump for consumers,” Becerra said. “We will […]

Shorts

11 Sep

Updated Sept. 14 After an almost nine month hiatus, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is fully functional again. FERC Chair Neil Chatterjee earlier this week announced that the commission will again hold monthly meetings beginning next week on Sept. 20.  The commission has not met since early this year after losing a quorum following the […]

The Buzz

8 Sep

California’s heat wave sparked new historical peak power loads in Southern California and came close to topping the state’s all-time record demand for electricity. Meanwhile, wildfires caused minor damage to the state’s power system, but brought no major consequences. Despite ongoing calls by some for lawmakers in Sacramento to enact last-minute grid regionalization legislation, no […]

Last Two FERC Nominees Vetted by Senate Panel

7 Sep

During a Sept. 7 Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing the latest two nominees for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stated support for increasing grid cyber-security protections, reducing barriers to energy storage and other distributed energy resources, and thwarting harm from market manipulation. FERC authority goes beyond protecting just and reasonable rates, Kevin McIntyre, […]

House Panel Debates Whether PURPA is Out of Fashion

7 Sep

A House panel this week began considering whether to change a 40-year old federal law enacted to promote small wind and solar energy projects and industrial cogeneration to make the electricity market more competitive and energy supplies more diverse. The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy Sept. 6 held a hearing aimed at assessing […]

Fires Singe Grid Facilities, But Cause No Major Effects

6 Sep

The major fires burning across the state as of early this week so far have had no major impact on the grid, but there was some damage. The La Tuna fire in Los Angeles impacted a Southern California Edison transmission line but two other 230 kV lines were “minimally threatened” as of late Monday, according […]

Heat Brings New Historic Peaks for Edison & LADWP

6 Sep

Triple digit temperatures caused Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power to set new peak load records last week. The blistering heat drove up electricity demand in and outside Southern California even though the high loads were tamped down somewhat by demand response programs. Edison’s new peak load reached 23,508 […]

Shorts

6 Sep

A Berkeley-based startup won a $1 million grant from the Department of Energy to help commercialize its innovative battery technology made from graphite that is synthesized from carbon dioxide. “Our process produces graphite more sustainably and affordably than traditional graphite, which is usually sourced from poorly-regulated mines in China or synthesized from petroleum,” Drew Reid, […]

JUICE: Edison’s Electric Truck Charging Plan May Result in Stranded Assets

5 Sep

Southern California Edison’s strategy to spend $554 million of ratepayer money primarily on charging infrastructure to replace polluting diesel trucks and equipment in greater Los Angeles sounds like just what the doctor ordered for improving respiratory health in the smoggy area. The region—which is home to the largest port complex in the nation—has been known […]

Friday Heat May Push Demand to New High, Causing Outages

31 Aug

Updated 7 p.m. on Aug. 31. California only got hotter as the week progressed, with triple digit temperatures on Sept. 1 expected to shatter the grid operator’s all-time peak load by almost 500 MW. Friday’s peak demand was forecast at 50,750 MW on Thursday afternoon, after being revised slightly downward by the grid operator. Temperatures […]

JUICE: Voluntary 100% Renewable Programs Lack Traction

30 Aug

Community choice and utility programs offering customers all solar energy or 100 percent mixed renewable power are about as popular as wall flowers. The uptake rate of consumers voluntarily paying community aggregators and private utilities for all solar or a mix of clean power is in the low single digits. It is as low as […]

Climate Roundup: Utilities Busy Building Climate Resilience

30 Aug

California’s major utilities are taking a variety of steps to help their service territories adapt to global warming. Climate resiliency efforts range from outfitting homes with better air conditioning systems, and other efficient features, to planting trees to shade homes and reduce the urban heat island effect. Southern California Edison has developed a climate vulnerability […]

Shorts

30 Aug

Three House Democrats took Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt to task for a growing lack of transparency at the federal agency in a letter they sent Aug. 30. The three, including Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), expressed concerns about restrictions on employee movement within the agency’s headquarters and a ban on note taking during meetings […]

Undercurrents: SONGS Onsite Waste Suit Settled

30 Aug

A settlement of the lawsuit over expanding onsite storage of spent nuclear fuel at the San Onofre Nuclear Station was reached Aug. 28. “A cooperative effort between the public, independent experts and Southern California Edison has begun and will continue until the nuclear waste is removed from San Diego,” said attorney Michael Aguirre, representing plaintiff […]