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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 […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

Peevey’s Walk Down Memory Lane

2 Nov

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 […]

The Buzz

27 Oct

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 […]

CA Coalition Protests Proposed Coal & Nuke Subsidies

25 Oct

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 […]

The Buzz

20 Oct

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 […]

OPINIONATED: Binary Geothermal Gives PV a Run for Its Money

17 Oct

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 […]

The Buzz

13 Oct

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 […]

Retalitory Firing Claim by CPUC Head Judge Heads to Court

12 Oct

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 Buzz

5 Oct

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 […]

Fallout from the ISO Regionalization Effort

5 Oct

Gov. Jerry Brown created considerable “collateral damage” by attempting to ram through legislation at the end of the last lawmaking session to allow California’s grid operator to expand to western states, said Kip Lipper, the Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De León’s chief consultant. “It was a drive by shooting,” said Lipper, noting he was […]

The Buzz

29 Sep

A future as predictable as a Ouiji board was a central theme at the Independent Energy Producer’s annual meeting this week amid mounting uncertainty from the changing role of utilities and the scarcity of contracts for generators. Speaking of contracts, and lack of them, utility regulators this week nixed a deal between Southern California Edison […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

CA Exodus from Federal Advisory Roles

6 Sep

California is steadily losing its voice when it comes to federal energy and environmental policy as the Trump Administration either alienates or removes Californians from various advisory committees and delegations in Washington. In the latest move, The Trump Administration notified Carl Zichella Sept. 1 that he would not be reappointed to the Department of Energy’s […]

The Buzz

31 Aug

A week that began with record heat and a near record demand for power ends even hotter with a forecast of a new all-time record peak demand for electricity in California. The grid operator calls for conservation. PG&E calls for flashlights. Decentralized solar energy coupled with storage and smart controls can lower the cost of […]