Archive by Author

Negawatt Providers Seek a Mandate

21 Nov

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 […]

PG&E Seeks Nearly 50% Hike in Transmission Gas Rates

21 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric is seeking approval from state energy regulators to raise its revenue requirement by 46 percent for gas transmission and storage covering the years 2019-2021. The utility’s rate case request would hike the revenue requirement for the backbone of its gas system from $1.3 billion to $1.9 billion over that three-year period. […]

Shorts

21 Nov

The grid operator won a national award for demonstrating that solar plants equipped with smart inverters can provide a variety of grid reliability services. The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners last week gave the California Independent System Operator, First Solar, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory the “Utility Industry Innovative Pilots or Demonstration Projects […]

Private Utility Portfolios Are Bulging with Renewable Credits

20 Nov

The three investor-owned utilities have an estimated 55,000 GWh worth of surplus renewable energy credits. These excess green credits, which are separate from the actual GWh of power produced, are being saved for use over the next 12 years to meet the utilities’ 50 percent renewable portfolio mandate in 2030. The hefty amount of renewable […]

Aggregators Contest CPUC Control Over Resource Planning

20 Nov

As the California Public Utilities Commission moves toward adopting a decision that sets parameters for its new integrated resource planning process for power utilities and other load serving entities, community choice aggregators want to get out from under CPUC authority. The California Community Choice Association maintains that community aggregators, like Marin Clean Energy and others, […]

SMUD Clears Way for 5G Transceivers on Power Poles

20 Nov

In response to efforts by telecommunications companies to expand their 4G networks and build new 5G networks, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Nov. 16 set fees for mounting small cell communications equipment on power poles. The move could be a precursor of bigger things to come for power utilities across the board. The fee will […]

The Buzz

17 Nov

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 […]

Riverside County Moves Ahead on Community Choice

16 Nov

After more than a year of work, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors Nov. 14 approved taking the next critical step towards becoming a community aggregator. The supervisors voted 3-2 to send the proposed community energy implementation plan for the unincorporated areas of the county, which have about 375,000 residential and business customers, to the […]

CAISO May Cancel PG&E 230 kV Project, Add Intertie Data Devices

16 Nov

Grid operator staff noted a shift in planning focus from whether a proposed high voltage project is needed for traditional reliability to whether it will advance renewables integration during a Nov. 16 meeting on the preliminary 2018-19 transmission plan. As part of addressing the impact of intermittent renewables, California Independent System Operator staff said it’s […]

Opinionated: Plan to Power Through Weather-Related Outages

14 Nov

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 […]

Shorts

14 Nov

Calpine has set a shareholders’ vote on its merger with Energy Capital Partners for Dec. 15. Under the proposed merger, a subsidiary of Energy Capital Partners known as Volt would purchase Calpine at a price of $15.25 a share. If approved, Calpine stock no longer would be traded, but instead controlled by the Energy Capital […]

Undercurrents

13 Nov

Renewable energy and the prospects for electric vehicles could be upended in part by Congressional action on tax legislation. At issue is the House tax package, which would cut the production tax credit for wind energy by more than a third, eliminate the federal $7,500 tax credit for purchasing electric vehicles, and ax a 10 […]

The Buzz

9 Nov

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 […]

CPUC Waives Utility Deposits & Okays Other Protections for Wildfire Victims

9 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission Nov. 9 unanimously approved a series of Pacific Gas & Electric utility bill protections for Northern California residential customers impacted by the devastating wildfires in October. “The Commission believes that persons affected by the wildfires should be assisted, and that California’s utilities should provide opportunities for help, in this time […]

CPUC Delays SDG&E Fire Cost Recovery Decision

9 Nov

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 […]

CPUC Proposal Slashes Cost of PG&E’s Diablo Closure Plan

8 Nov

A fraction of the requested closure costs Pacific Gas & Electric seeks from its ratepayers to close the utility’s 2,240 MW Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant by 2025 is authorized under a proposed decision by the California Public Utilities Commission. Under Administrative Law Judge Peter Allen’s proposal released Nov. 8, PG&E ratepayers would pay $190.4 million to close […]

Effort to Dim Energy Star Faces Stiff Opposition

7 Nov

Proposed federal legislation to overhaul the popular Energy Star program, including cutting consumer protections, faced significant opposition from many lawmakers and industry officials at its first airing. The oft repeated plea during the Nov. 7 hearing by the House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee was not to fix the unbroken voluntary energy efficiency labeling program. […]

Shorts

7 Nov

Coal power production is expected to increase next year largely at the expense of natural gas-fired generation, according to the Energy Information Agency’s short-term energy outlook for the nation released Nov. 7. Gas power production will be about even with coal power next year, with each representing about 31 percent of total power production, EIA […]

JUICE: Finding the Wind & CPUC Leadership

6 Nov

Ancient Roman philosopher Seneca once observed that “To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind. That is true for California’s utility regulators, who displayed a lack of vision and muddled thinking in two important meetings last week. The first meeting held by the California Public Utilities […]

The Buzz

3 Nov

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 […]