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JUICE: Post Mortem

19 Sep

The most significant state energy bills of the year stopped breathing the final week of this legislative session. Legislation to set a 100 percent carbon free-power mandate for California by 2045, with the last 40 percent from large hydro, failed to come up for a vote before the wee hours of Sept. 16, the session’s […]

Climate Roundup: CA Spending Plan for Carbon Auction Money is Law

19 Sep

Gov. Jerry Brown quickly signed into law two bills, AB 109 and AB 134, which appropriate $1.6 billion in state carbon cap-and-trade auction revenue this fiscal year. The money will go largely to projects aimed at advancing conversion of the transportation sector to electric technology. The spending package also will help sequester carbon in vegetation […]

Shorts

19 Sep

A U.S. Senate panel backed the nominations of Richard Glick and Kevin McIntyre to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee on Sept. 19 approved both nominees on a voice vote. McIntyre, who will serve as chair of the commission, is an energy lawyer with Jones Day. Glick […]

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 […]

FERC’s New Chair Walks Fine Line

14 Sep

Neil Chatterjee, the new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair, signaled a subtle shift in the commission’s focus to maintaining grid reliability as more renewable energy comes online, during a Sept. 14 House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing. The commission under former President Barack Obama highlighted the role of matching power demand with available energy […]

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 […]

Cap-&-Trade Spending Plan Headed for Passage

13 Sep

The fate of a bill to require 100 percent renewable power in California remained uncertain mid-week as the Legislature raced toward a Friday deadline to finish up its business in Sacramento. However, lawmakers and the governor broke a deadlock Sept. 12 that appears to clear the way for a massive spending measure funded by carbon […]

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 […]

Undercurrents: Bill Promoting Renewables During Peaks Before Gov.

7 Sep

State legislation to increase the amount of clean alternative resources used to meet peak demand passed both chambers this week. The Senate passed SB 338 on 27-13 vote Sept. 6 after the Assembly passed it 46-26 the day before. “California can demonstrate that a low-cost, low-carbon grid is possible 24/7,” said Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), […]

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 […]

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 […]

Sands Run Out on Grid Regionalization

6 Sep

As the Legislature moves toward winding up its session discussions were said to be underway in the Governor’s office about western grid regionalization,but they were not expected to bear fruit. “How often does a legislature get to take action that will reduce voters’ utility bills and improve their air quality with no upfront costs,” Natural […]